Tuesday, November 2, 2010

In gratitude...

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and think about the year that has gone by...or, well, it's just a time to gorge and get a three day weekend.
I would love to say that it is more the former than the latter, but at the end of the day, it's a lot more of the latter...

One thing I can say about Thanksgiving is that I love the food that goes with this fabulous holiday!

I love cooking a whole turkey, I love making stuffing, I love all of it!
I will admit, I have lofty future goals of making fresh rolls and cranberry sauce one day, but for now, we have to stick to the basics.

Here are some shots from this Thanksgiving...

Firstly, I am going to share my family's stuffing recipe. OK, so that I don't get the call from my mom telling me that she gets no credit! (Thanks for the crouton recipe mom!).

What you'll need:
2 large white onions
4-5 stalks of celery (chopped)
4-5 carrots (chopped)
1 pound of sausage meat
1 box of stuffing mix (we have always used this kind - delicious)
1/4 stick of butter
1 egg
Various herbs (garlic powder, oregano, thyme...the classics)

In a large pot, melt the butter.
Chop the onions (don't worry if they are not perfectly symmetric) and add them to the pot under low to medium heat.
Let them sweat out until they become translucent

Add some spices
Do not let them brown
Add the sausage meat
Let it cook with the onions
As the meat cooks down and the natiral liquid is forming, add the carrots & the celery
Let it all cook down together under low to medium heat
Once you see that the meat is cooked (don't worry if it is not perfect, you will be stuffing the turkey later and cooking it more)take it off the heat

Let it all cool down
Once it is cool, add the stuffing mix
Add spices again
Start mixing everything together
You will need it to stick together so at this point, add the egg.

Let it sit while you prepare the turkey.

Now, you can prepare a traditional turkey (full bird) and clean it, stuff it, rub it down with margarine and then stuff it.
Use a piece of bread to cap the cavity (both ends)- this is an old trick that my grandfather taught my dad and my dad taught me...
Lay strips of bacon on top and let the it cook with the bird, the fat will keep the skin moist and browned...
The secret to a great turkey my friends, is very simple, baste, baste, baste...
Every 15 minutes if you can.

This year, the butcher deboned a turkey breast, stuffed it at the shop and layed strips of pancetta on top. He then tied it all with twine to make the most beautiful non full bird turkey I have ever seen...

I really am a lucky girl!

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