Friday, November 23, 2007

Hmmmmm... Turkey

Well, we did thanksgiving at our house again this year; with Mels parents, Emily, and Kommander joining us; for a total of 6 adults (or something approaching the description), two kids, two dogs, and two cats.

Let's just say the house was full of life.

We did a 20lb turkey; prepared much as we did last year. It sounds more complicated than it is; really, it's quite easy and you get excellent turkey.

So, first, I brined it overnight in very salty water, a little Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar.

This morning, I did a compound herb butter, and rubbed the bird down inside and out, salted and peppered the skin; and injected the breast and drums with a mixture of Cote du Rhone rose', and salty turkey stock (and poured the remaining two cups into the base of the pan).

Finally, I stuffed some fresh sage, fresh rosemary, and a stick of butter in the body cavity; and stuck it in the oven at 500 for 30 minutes to crisp up the skin.

After 30 minutes, I turned the oven down to 325, tented the whole bird, and roasted it at 325 for an hour; while I prepped the cornbread, bacon, and apple stuffing.

After an hour an a half total cooking time, I stuffed the bird, folded the tent back to leave the body cavity exposed; and roasted at 325 for 3-1/2 more hours, basting every 20-30 minutes.

The total cooking time was right at 5 hours even; to reach 160 in the thickest and coolest part of the breast.

Unfortunately, the dark meat was a tiny bit under done at that temperature. I noticed it was still running a little ping when I jointed the bird, so we measured and it only hit 151; but no-one was complaining. Most of it is going into the soup I'm making the stock for right now actually.

Along side that, we did some beautiful whipped potatos. A lot of people THINK they don't like whipped potatos, because all they've had is school cafeteria grade whipped potatoes. If you haven't had GOOD whipped potatoes, you don't know what you're missing. They're like mashies done with a lot of butter, pepper, and cream; and mixed very smooth, but still with a full potato texture, not some soupy oily mess. If you do them right, they taste and feel almost like eating a perfectly baked potato with whipped butter on top. Oh and we boil our taters in a salty vinegar brine, just for a little extra flavor.

Mel made some mashed sweet potatoes(I cant stand sweet potatos), and some home made dinner rolls, and I made some corn (unfortunately not fresh on the cob, but still good); and about two quarts of really great gravy.

I tried a new wine with dinner, a Shingleback cab. I've got a 2003 Penfolds bin 407 that I was planning on having tonight, but I picked the Shingleback up on special, to try something new. It was quite good, but very tannic, bright, and bold; and not the best accompaniment for the bird. Honestly, I'd just say that it was too young. Mel was much happier with her Cote du Rhone Rose'.

Finally we finished it off with pecan pie and ice cream; Costco this time not home made (Mel has never done a pecan pie, and wants time to work on recipes), but it was surprisingly good.

The food was great, the company wonderful, and everyone went home happy and stuffed. Heck, even the dogs behaved themselves. ALl in all a damn fine day.