Suddenly, it’s time to get more pumpkins. Not to make Jack O’Lanterns, but to make them into delicious pies! Cranberries are practically picking themselves and the turkeys of the world are starting to get nervous again. How is it already almost time for Thanksgiving?! If you’re like most of us, the holiday season always seems to come out of nowhere and for many people that means cutting corners to make up for lost time. However, you owe it to yourself and your family to make this the Thanksgiving to remember!
It’s shocking how many of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes have been commercialized and homogenized into mere shadows of their original selves. Cranberry sauce might be the most glaring example. What was once your grandmother’s signature dish at some point turned into genetically modified corn syrup in a can. How did this happen? Certainly, time and money have always been a factor in trying to streamline Thanksgiving dinner. But doing it the slow way, the old way, will keep you fuller, happier and healthier in the long run. Sometimes the issue is not knowing how to prepare something, so we revert back to the can or the bag of stuffing. Well, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s start with the main event, Turkey!
When it comes to Turkeys it is worth it to find a pasture-raised “Heritage Turkey”. Heritage turkeys are the traditional breeds of turkeys that have not been “industrialized” for efficient factory farm production at the expense of flavor and the well-being of the turkeys. Remember, that old saying, “you are what you eat?” Well, when it comes to meat, you are what the meat ate. If your turkey or chicken was raised on GMO feed and antibiotics you’re better off having your Thanksgiving celebration at an oxygen bar!
Here is a delicious Turkey recipe:
When roasting a turkey, figure 12 minutes per pound for a 15-pound unstuffed turkey. If you decide to stuff the turkey add about 5 minutes more per pound. Rotate the bird one-third of the way through cooking time, starting with the breast side up, then rotating breast side down, then finishing breast side up. This will help distribute the juices evenly throughout the bird to help keep it moist.
Fresh Herb Butter:
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 14-16 pound turkey (preferably heritage), rinsed with warm water, patted dry inside and out; neck, heart and gizzard reserved for Quick & Easy Turkey Stock
4 fresh thyme sprigs
8 fresh sage sprigs
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Quick & Easy Turkey Stock
2 tablespoons of reserved fat from the roast turkey
1/2 cup chopped shallots
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 1/4 cups Quick & Easy Turkey Stock (see recipe)
1 1/4 cups dry white wine
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
Directions for Turkey:
Two or three days ahead, season the bird inside and out with salt and pepper.
When ready to cook pull the turkey out one hour before putting it in the oven to bring it to room temperature (it will cook more evenly).
Set rack at the lowest position in oven and preheat to 400° F.
Spread over cavity 2 tablespoons fresh herb butter.
Fill the cavity with fresh herb sprigs.
Starting at the neck end, use a paring knife, to loosen the skin between the skin and meat of breast, thighs and upper drumsticks. Finish by spreading the remaining butter over the whole bird and salt and pepper to taste.
Tie legs loosely to hold shape. Tuck wing tips under.
Place turkey on rack, breast side up in a large heavy roasting pan. If you don’t have a rack cushion bird with a bed of herb branches.
Pour 2 cups of stock into the pan. Roast turkey for one-third of cooking time breast side up (about 1 hour for a 3-pound bird). After one-third of cooking time has passed, lower the temperature to 350°, and flip the turkey breast side down to baste.
Roast breast side down for the middle third, and flip breast side up for the final third. Baste a couple of times during the final third of cook time.
Roast until the thermometer is inserted into the fattiest part of the breast until it registers about 160° F for around 3 hours.
Remove from the oven, tent it with foil, and let it rest for 20-30 minutes before you carve it. The internal temperature will continue to rise 5-10 degrees.
Fresh Herb Gravy:
Using a wooden spoon, scrape browned bits and juices from the roasting pan into a large glass measuring cup or fat separator. Spoon off fat and reserve 2 tablespoons.
Heat the roasting pan over a medium flame and add 2 tablespoons of reserved fat.
Add shallots; sauté 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low.
Add flour, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk until it smells nutty (you are cooking off the flour taste).
Whisk in 3 cups stock, wine, and degreased pan juices, and bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
Cook to desired consistency, about 5 minutes.
Whisk in rosemary and sage; season to taste with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, strain the sauce to remove any lumps.
You will want to gobble this up!
Garman, J. (2022, August 16). Heritage vs. production turkeys. Murray McMurray Hatchery Blog. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://blog.mcmurrayhatchery.com/2022/03/27/heritage-and-production-turkeys/
Jampel, S. (2018, November 15). Why the Tuesday before Thanksgiving is the most crucial Cooking Day. Bon Appétit. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://www.bonappetit.com/story/tuesday-before-thanksgiving-is-most-important-day
Klein, L. (2009, November 17). Easy fresh herb organic Turkey with fresh Herb Gravy. Organic Authority. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://www.organicauthority.com/uncategorized/easy-fresh-herb-organic-turkey-with-fresh-herb-gravy
Pope, A. (2021, November 23). The science behind cooking a delicious Thanksgiving meal. UAB News. Retrieved November 7, 2022, from https://www.uab.edu/news/youcanuse/item/12456-the-science-behind-cooking-a-delicious-thanksgiving-meal