Here it is, my thanksgiving post! Now that didn’t take too long, did it? Last year I had about 12 people over to my place, and although I loved that everyone came over, we couldn’t all sit down together to eat since I don’t have a 12-person dining room table! So this year, I decided to have a small and intimate Thanksgiving dinner of 6 people max. In the end, I had 8 people total, but we squeezed everyone on to the dining room table! It was a great meal, and although I started planning for it on Thursday, went out on Saturday night, and picked up my turkey at 10am on Sunday morning running on about 4hrs sleep, it was soooo worth it. I was happy chilling with my friends, sipping wine, and cooking from noon to 6pm. By the time I went to bed at 2am, I was exhausted, but very very happy. This is the 3rd or 4th large feast I’ve made, and I’ve been improving each time. This dinner was my best one yet. And I even opened my beloved Chateauneuf du Pape wine for the occasion. Now if that’s not love, I don’t know what is!
- One fresh turkey (I used an 18lb one.. I know, I went a bit overboard)
- 2 onions
- 3 heads of garlic
- 2 lemons
- 4 bay leaves
- Fresh parsley
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Step one: bribe a boy into carrying the 18lb turkey up a hill to your place from the grocery store.
When that’s done, you can start cooking! Remove the turkey’s insides and pat dry. I’m not suuuuper experienced with turkeys so this convo happened while cooking “Are those lungs inside? Can we eat them? No they’re just air… It’s okay, leave them in.”
Anyway, after you’ve figured out the anatomy of the turkey and dried it, loosen the skin over the breast by gently…. Fingering? Fingering inside the turkey. I’m sorry, I don’t know how else to explain it. Make sure you don’t tear the skin. Wash your hands well and make the butter. Mix together the room temperature butter with lemon zest, chopped parsley, chopped garlic, salt and pepper, a splash of olive oil, and the juice of 2 lemons.
Insert under the skin, and massage it all over so that it’s evenly distributed. You can turn the turkey around and put the butter in through the other end too, so you’re not elbow deep in turkey skin like I was. If you have extra butter, slather it over the outside.
Season the cavity with salt and pepper, and insert quartered onions, the lemon halves, halved garlic heads, and bay leaves. You can insert some bay leaves under the skin too. Then, season the whole turkey and drizzle with olive oil. The reason why I like onions and lemons inside my turkey instead of stuffing, is that a whole turkey is such a big bird, and I despise dry meat, so the onions and lemons ensure that the turkey steams from the inside.
Roast at 450F for 15min.
Take out, and it should look like this:
Lower the oven to 350F. Baste, and here comes the fun part… Bacon!!! Cover that bird in bacon strips! The bacon shield keeps the breast from drying out, and bastes the turkey in delicious bacon fat. I tried the bacon afterwards and it wasn’t that great, but it serves its purpose during cooking.
For every kilo of turkey, it’ll take 30min to cook at 350F. I had an 8kg bird, so it took me about 4hrs. Have a meat thermometer handy. I cooked mine till the temperature of the breast reached 170F.
After 4hrs, I took it out of the oven (after much basting), and it was FABULOUS. While my friend carved, I made the gravy by taking all the drippings and thickening in a pot with some corn flour.
Next post will be the scalloped potatoes that I served with the Thanksgiving turkey! And it includes… bacon. Obviously.