Cooking Thanksgiving dinner can be stressful and in my previous post I shared TWO TIPS to help the day go smoother:
1. Read your recipes and directions carefully.
2. Cook side dishes in advance (esp. if you’re like me and have only ONE oven).
I considered adding a third tip: don’t do anything different, but you might take that the wrong way. One of the aspects of cooking that I enjoy the most is trying new recipes. And every year I’ve gazed upon the mouth-watering November issues of all the cooking magazines I have, past and current, and select a new dessert or side dish to change things up a bit. I learned years ago that I can’t mess with the traditional line-up too much. The Don insists upon jellied cranberry sauce and by all means, DON’T mess with the mashed potatoes!
So what I’m getting at is, to quote an old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Instead of stuffing the turkey this year, I baked the stuffing separately. Savory stuffing is what I anticipate most about Thanksgiving dinner and I was sorely disappointed because my traditional bread dressing lacked the moistness and full flavor that the turkey juices add. (When “stuffing” is baked separately, rather than stuffed in the turkey, is when it’s called “dressing”.)
On to the main attraction, the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving table, Roast Turkey. Most importantly, it takes 3-4 days to defrost a turkey in the refrigerator (recommended). For tips on all things turkey, from defrosting to carving, visit Butterball.com or you can call the Butterball Talk Line at 1-800-BUTTERBALL. If you haven’t done your grocery shopping, here’s a list of supermarket specials from DealsDiva.
The Brown Sugar-cured Turkey has been a family favorite since 1997. This recipe, as well as the Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic-Lemon Vinaigrette, were featured in a collection highlighting the best-loved ingredients of the Pacific Northwest, so naturally, an Oregon Pinot Noir is the perfect wine pairing.
(from Bon Appétit)
Because it is cooked slowly at a low temperature, the turkey is extremely moist and flavorful. Apply the spice rub ONE DAY AHEAD. Then bask in the praise on Thanksgiving Day! This recipe, as well as the Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic-Lemon Vinaigrette, were featured in a collection highlighting the best-loved ingredients of the Pacific Northwest, so naturally, an Oregon Pinot Noir is the perfect wine pairing.
1 20-lb. turkey
½ c. (packed) golden brown sugar
¼ c. coarse salt (such as Kosher salt)
2 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. ground allspice
1 t. ground cloves
1 t. ground mace (nutmeg may be substituted)
2 large onions quartered
2 c. low-salt chicken broth
Defrost turkey. Remove the neck and giblets from the body and neck cavities. Rinse turkey inside and out, drain juices. Pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey on a platter or in a roasting pan.
Mix brown sugar, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, allspice, cloves, and mace in a small bowl and blend well. Rub brown sugar mixture all over outside of turkey. Refrigerate UNCOVERED for 24 hours.
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 300 degrees F. Arrange onion quarters in large roasting pan. Place turkey on top of onions. Tie turkey legs together and tuck wings under turkey (this is already done on a lot of turkeys). Sprinkle turkey with pepper. Cover loosely with foil. Roast turkey for 2 hours.
Uncover; roast for 30 minutes. Add 1 cup broth to roasting pan; baste turkey with broth. Roast turkey 1 hour, basting occasionally. Add another cup of broth to roasting pan; continue to roast turkey until dark brown, basting with broth every 20 minutes, about 1 hour. Cover turkey loosely with foil; continue roasting until meat thermometer inserted into innermost part of thigh registers 180 ?F, about 1 hour and 30 minutes longer.
Remove from oven, transfer turkey to platter. Tent with oil and let stand 30 minutes.
Note: Total roasting time is 5 hours, but remember this is for a 20 lb. turkey. The rule of thumb is 15 minutes for every pound of turkey when baked at 325 degrees F.
3. Enjoy sharing this day with your family and friends.