Slowly getting back into the blog.
We are going to have Thanksgiving at the folks again this year. This got some discussion going with the kids about leftovers and such, and how they like when we have Thanksgiving in our home, because of the leftovers. My response was , " We have two turkeys in the freezer, how about if I make one a week early? " The kids were up for it and I even got help! Woo hoo!
Last Friday was Turkey day at our house! Daughter has Fridays off, love college students, and their schedules. Son was home, for an inservice day or something, I can never keep track of all those days off.
The turkey was taken out of the freezer early in the week and put in the refrigerator to thaw. Friday morning I took it out of the refrigerator, it was time to prep the bird. I took it out of its packaging in the sink, under cold running water I rinsed the bird inside and out, taking out the giblets and neck from the cavity and rinsing the cavity very well. Then we dried the bird with paper toweling and put the turkey aside for a moment. I have a rack for the roasting pan, but, I decided to do what I usually do and cut up onion, celery, carrots and make a rack out of the vegetables for the turkey to sit on, we placed the turkey on the homemade rack of vegetables. I have done this for many years while living overseas because, I did not have a rack. I actually prefer to cook the turkey this way now. The drippings in the pan are flavored by the vegetables and they taste wonderful.
The giblets and neck were put in a pot of water with more of the same vegetables and salt and pepper to make a stock for the gravy I would make later.
Now came the question... what are we putting on the turkey mom? Butter? My response was nope. Just grab the olive oil and salt and pepper and some sage. We gave the bird a rub down with the olive oil, a grinding of fresh ground pepper corns, a sprinkling of salt, we used kosher salt, you can use whatever you have, and some dried sage, from our garden. We also did the same in the cavity of the bird and added some of the vegetables we made the rack with too. I put about 2 cups of water in the bottom of the pan.
How are we going to cook it? " We will preheat the oven to 325 F and put the meat thermometer in the bird, in the thickest part of the thigh and pop it in the oven.
"Hey, Mom, Did you know you have a "turkey button " on your fancy stove?" As I searched the back of my mind, I vaguely remember there was, but, I know how to cook a turkey so what was the point. Cool, I can try another feature on the oven.
" Can we try the "turkey button" ? Sure we can try it! So we did!
The "turkey button" sets the oven temperature at 325 F and ,uses the probe to track the internal temp of the bird. Pretty cool as you can check where the temp is all throughout the cooking time on the main display of the oven, no need to open the door to the oven and let heat escape.Probe inserted into the thickest part of the breast which is where the stove instructions say to place the probe thermometer and the oven set, turkey placed in the oven and we were off.
Mom, where is the baster? " I threw that away years ago because, I never used it."
Yeah, I don't baste... Basically, once the bird is in the oven I check on it by looking through the door and open the door only to check the internal temperature on my thermometer.If the bird is getting too brown I make a loose tent with foil and put it over the bird and remove it later.
The" turkey button" on my fancy oven worked out quite well.The timer sounded when the turkey was finished. I double checked the internal temperature of the turkey with my instant read thermometer just to be sure that we were spot on and we were. The turkey was beautiful! Daughter said," it looks like the turkeys in the magazines! "
Of course, it was delicious, moist and flavorful.
The kids made dressing/stuffing, to go with the gravy I made with the drippings, and stock from the turkey.
I froze half of the meat from the turkey and the carcass. I used the carcass a few days later to make stock and to make turkey pot pies for dinner.
We still have a breast, thigh and leg in the freezer for another day. There is also turkey stock in the freezer from the carcass. This will be used in various recipes too.
Words of advice.
Don't sweat it if you are making the turkey. It really isn't difficult to make..... this was something I wanted my kids to see and learn. We did it very basic, you can add any herbs you choose, and fruit and vegetables to your bird. I have done birds with citrus and rosemary, with apples and cinnamon, with thyme. Do what you like and relax while that bird is in the oven.