It’s Turkey Time!

Yes, the title of this post is indeed a Jersey Shore reference.  I’m cool like that.

Now that the Thanksgiving festivities are over and I have spent the whole day shopping (and therefore am inexplicably tired, as if shopping involves me sprinting hills with 50 pound ankle weights while completing world-title brain teasers in Japanese), I figured now would be a good time to blog. 

We are also watching Regarding Henry with my family, which is giving me very fond memories of starting PT school–back when I was an unsuspecting dewy-eyed newlywed still unaware of the impending drudgery that is graduate school.  Plus Harrison Ford has the most adorable beagle you’ve ever seen.

But back to business.  Part I of my two-part Thanksgiving post will be dedicated to the star of the show; the prima donna, if you will.  Things are run a little non-traditionally in my family–my dad is the master of all things turkey.  Because Fritz and I went out on Wednesday night, he was nice enough to let me sleep in until the very last minute, and woke me up at 6:30 with picture-ready displays of turkey and stuffing preparation.  He is, as some might say,

the man.

Thanksgiving Turkey and Stuffing (Serves 10 people with plenty o’ leftovers–we needed leftovers for two families)

  • 23 lb turkey, fully defrosted or fresh
  • giblets
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • 2 bags stuffing bread cubes (he used 1 cornbread and 1 seasoned)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C dried cranberries
  • 1 C toasted almonds
  • 1 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese

These ingredients are highly variable.  Every year Dad looks through the kitchen for inspiration for that year’s stuffing–it does usually involve a fruit, a nut, and a cheese if you want a starting point.

Combine all the stuffing ingredients (that’s everything except the turkey, my friends), and mix.

Slowly add water.  I say slowly, because it takes a few seconds for the bread cubes to absorb it, and you don’t want to rush into it and realize you’ve ended up with a soggy wet mess.

 

Now here’s the important part.  Pay attention because this is what separates your regular, everyday Tom from a masterpiece.

 Stuff the turkey under the skin!  The leftover stuffing goes inside the cavity, but putting the stuffing over the breast meat helps seal in moisture and add flavor.  Dad suggests making sure the turkey is cold before attempting this to prevent to skin from ripping.  Use a spoon or your hands to release the skin from the meat, and cram that stuffing in there.

I have to blame bad lighting for the low quality of these pics--it was early!

Place the turkey in a roasting pan and cover with foil.  Put it in the oven at 325 (adjust as necessary), and cook until the internal temperature is 170 degrees.  Remove the foil at the end and start basting it to coax out that beautiful brown color.

Our turkey cooked for seven-eight hours, but obviously that has to be adjusted depending on how big your turkey is.  I believe the general rule of thumb is approximately 20-25 minutes per pound.

what a beauty

here's the money shot: stuffing and breast meat. mmmm.

The Top Chef himself (and his barely awake daughter):

high contrast makes me look better when I'm not wearing make-up

Because the turkey takes so darn long to cook, you’ll have to find something to do.  You’ll read about a lot of what we did tomorrow in Thanksgiving Blog Post II–but here’s one option:

We played with my mom’s giant dog, Hadley.  She’s a year and a half old Irish Wolfhound who considers herself a lap dog.  She weights 122 pounds.  Henry, who has been banished to the basement due to my dad’s allergies, has been standing at the door, meowing–torn between jealousy and gripping fear.

Poor baby.

He also needs to be fed–right now!  See you tomorrow for part II!

 

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