Although I inevitably stress about the meal, it's not because I'm making a complicated recipe or because we're making a million and one dishes. We keep it simple. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and a vegetable are all we need to be satisfied.
We are working our way through our white potatoes from the garden this summer. They are starting to get some eyes, but they are just fine once they are peeled. And they make some awesome mashed potatoes! Now that we have a table saw, one of our projects for the winter is building root cellar storage and potato bins are on the list!
My grandma requested lots of stuffing, so she walked me through how she made hers. It's pretty basic with lots of bread, onion, eggs, butter, and a splash of chicken broth. Kole was excited that stuffing was essentially just bread, but was disappointed when he saw onions. Oh well, more for us!
My concern really lies in making sure we get the turkey fully cooked! And not cooked as in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation cooked turkey! We have been getting our turkeys locally for the last several years, but this year Becky and Larry raised some heritage turkeys to meet a demand. We have become accustomed to, and prefer, heritage chicken so we decided to give the turkey a go. If you're not familiar with the heritage breed poultry, they tend to take longer to grow and have less white breast meat. Since we've never cooked one before, Dan scoured the internet. He found that most of the people he found had butterflied the turkey and it was done in a little over an hour at a high temperature. I was skeptical, but I told him the turkey was his domain!
So, a little after 11, he put the turkey in and by 12:30 it was ready! Not bad for an 11.5 pound bird! He made sure to use two meat thermometers to ensure that it was fully cooked. The foodsafety.gov website has a lot of good tips for ensuring your turkey is properly prepared - these tips are good for more than just Thanksgiving! And while this video may make you giggle, food safety is important!
I love how this infographic shows the appropriate places to take a temperature reading on the bird. I really, really tried to remember to get pictures along the way, but I forgot. It was a whirlwind getting food on the table and we couldn't wait to dig in...
There were 6 adults and 2 littles, but we have a good deal of leftover turkey. And a lot of dark meat! Like, really dark meat. I'm thinking about maybe trying turkey stroganoff! I love how Deborah likens the dark meat to being useful in recipes that call for beef or pork. I think we are heritage bird converts!