Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

I have never been so thankful for a holiday in my life! This semester has been CRAZED, far beyond my typical level of insanity. So I eased my way into Thanksgiving prep by sleeping late yesterday, then spending a little quality time with the pups (I have missed them!). The rest of the day I spent in the kitchen, listening to my favorite Sirius radio show, Entertainment Weirdly, and baking pies (pumpkin--pictured before it got its broiled walnut crunch topping--and pecan) while the snow started to fall. I also made my famous cranberry strumpet, and when Cyd got home, we prepped the stuffing to be baked off tomorrow.
Today, I spatchcocked my turkey (which is still illegal in a few states) and covered it with frozen fruits, lima beans, and an ice pack--just because that's what I could readily find in the freezer to use. You see, I was attempting that trick that has been going around Facebook recently, trying to lower the temperature of the breast by ten degrees so that the light and dark meat are done at the same time. And you know, it kind of worked. The thigh meat ended up at 185, and the breast was 175 after carryover cooking. So it did keep it ten degrees cooler as promised, but we need a technique to keep it twenty degrees cooler. Maybe next year, I will try dry ice or liquid nitrogen! (Ha ha.) Even still, the turkey was juicy and flavorful, thanks to the spatchcocking and with a little help from Bobby Flay and his fabulous mustard-maple glaze. 

Mustard-Maple Glaze for Turkey
(Source: Bobby Flay, via Food Network)

1 1/2 cups grade-B pure maple syrup
2 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard (I used my new favorite Green Mountain Mustard--Clove Encounter with garlic and oregano)
2 heaping tablespoons prepared horseradish, drained (I only used 1T)
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder (I used dark chili powder)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

After the turkey reaches 155 degrees F, begin basting with the maple glaze; continue roasting, basting with the glaze every 10 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165 degrees F, about 20 more minutes. (I take it to 175 then let it carry over.)

Et VOILA! This year's Thanksgiving feast: Mustard and maple glazed turkey, mashed potatoes with pan gravy, sausage and sage stuffing ("recipe" below), spicy succotash, and cranberry strumpet.

I make a pretty basic stuffing/dressing; I don't feel the need to adulterate it. I use a big bag of white and wheat bread pieces from the bakery, PLUS a bag of cornbread pieces. I sauté a pound of mild breakfast sausage in a stick of butter (oh yeah) with a large chopped onion and four stalks of celery, chopped. I add a lot of black pepper and a tablespoon (up to 2) of poultry seasoning. When the meat is brown and the veggies are tender, I combine everything and add hot turkey stock one ladleful at a time until I reach the desired level of moisture (up to two quarts). Then bake uncovered at 350 for 20-30 minutes, until well browned on the edges.

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