This Thanksgiving was a cooking funfest. I brined a turkey this time before roasting, which is basically putting the large bird in a bucket with spices, vegetable broth, herbs and salt. Added enough water to cover the bird and a pile of ice. Cover and leave overnight. The flavors and salt pentrate the fowl through osmosis, but because of some science trickery, the turkey won't take on too much of the salt. Then, the day of cooking (Thursday) I take out the bird, rinse well and pat dry. Then I microwave some apple slices, onion, cinnamon stick, rosemary and sage for 5 minutes. Took it out and stuffed inside the bird. Flavors hitting this guy from all angles! Then rubbed the outside with canola oil, put into a roasting pan with a wire rack inside (or old veggies if you like). Need to put a half inch of water on the bottom (important to prevent smoking) because then I cook on the bottom rack at 500 degrees for 1/2 hour. Covered the breast with foil, and lowered the temp to 350 and used a instant thermometer inserted in the breastmeat until it reached 161 (about an hour for a 12 lb bird).
Also, Robin made incredible garlic mashed potatoes while I worked on string beans with orange zest and sliced almonds, dash of olive oil, salt and pepper. Stuffing made with cubes of sour dough bread, yum. Can't eat without cranberry chutney. Fresh cranberries, sugar, nuts, raisins, orange wedges and juice cooked in a pot for about 10 minutes till the berries start to burst. Stick in a frig and WOW, incredible. Topped it all off with a Dutch Apple Pie.
BEst of all, next day I took the turkey carcass, rest of the stuffing and all the other turkey parts and made a turkey soup. Added some chopped dill and parsley, but the flavors of the brine really made it incredible. I cut the sour dough an inch thick and toasted, it made the perfect companion for the soup. Everything seems to taste better the second day around. Just ask my girlfriend...
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