Yesterday was the best Thanksgiving I can remember. Instead of going out of town to visit relatives or driving hundreds of miles to a destination, we chose to stay at home. The five of us who reside in this house chose to spend Thanksgiving together, watching the parades and enjoying a relaxing day.
I chose to cook a big Thanksgiving dinner for the five of us. When I asked The Hubs what he wanted and his only request was a BIG turkey, so that there would be plenty of leftovers. I think the 20.43 pound bird that I chose suited his requirement.
This year I made some old standbys and some new recipes’. It was hands down the best Thanksgiving dinner I have ever prepared, and maybe the best I have ever eaten. It all just worked perfectly and was timed out like a well-choreographed dance.
The menu was planned by all of us and Daughter Number Four wanted to have traditional Irish food (she’s still really fixated on our trip to Ireland and all of the good food that we ate). When I asked her what that meant to her she explained that we had to have mashed potatoes (a given), vegetables, and Irish brown bread.
In addition to those items I had input from Daughter Number Two to make Green Bean Supreme. Her input on the potatoes consisted of “buttery”. Daughter Number Three wanted me to make a stuffing (or dressing as it didn’t actually go into the turkey) that didn’t have celery or sage. When I asked her what she would put into stuffing that would make it awesome she said pecans and apples. So, I found a recipe that called for pecans and apples and modified it slightly. I came up with the rest based on my likes and wants. Here is the menu, and the reasons they made the cut:
- Oven Roasted Turkey – per The Hubs (20.43 pounds)
- Mashed Potatoes – D4 (buttery per D2)
- Gravy (required Thanksgiving fare)
- Roasted Root Vegetables (D4)
- Green Bean Supreme (D2)
- Apple Pecan Stuffing (D3)
- Homemade Cranberry Sauce (required Thanksgiving fare)
- Irish Brown Bread (D4)
- Cornmeal Rolls (my father’s recipe and tradition)
- Pumpkin Pie (RTF)
- Apple Pie (RTF)
- Raisin Sour Cream Meringue Pie (The Hubs step-father’s favorite pie, which we make every year in his honor)
- Chocolate Mousse Pie (no thought here, I bought it for a fundraiser)
Rather than make this post 12 pages long, I will break the creation of the meal into several days. I hope you enjoy the journey!
I oven roasted the turkey in a low oven for 5 ½ hours. After washing and patting dry I rubbed the cavity with Kosher salt, cracked black pepper, thyme and bay. I coated the inside and outside with butter and had The Hubs lift the bird into the oven. Damn, she was heavy!
I found a recipe for the potatoes and Root Vegetables on a website for the Ireland Food Board – bordbia.ie. I used Yukon Gold potatoes for my mashed, and learned that a “knob” of butter is a piece about walnut size. Still I used a total of a stick of butter as per the request of D2. For my roasted root veggies I used sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, and a red onion. I drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled with a little bit of thyme and sea salt.
Gravy. Ah, gravy. In case I have not mentioned this in prior posts or in case you missed the headlines: I Love Gravy. (It’s a very close tie with cheese. I Love Cheese.) I grew up on homemade gravy and it is truly one of the best parts of life, in my opinion. Both of my parents made gravy and were quite good at it. My mother would make gravy with fried chicken, pork roast, beef roast, and other meats. My father, who loved cooking and experimenting with food, made red-eye gravy, hamburger gravy, turkey gravy, and most every gravy recipe he came across.
In Junior High I spent part of a summer with my maternal Grandmother, and she made gravy (for me) at almost every meal. I have eaten gravy on meat, potatoes, rice, bread, French fries, rolls, pancakes, and countless other foods.
Yesterday, I made milk gravy out of the turkey drippings. This turkey made the most wonderful drippings. I poured off about ½ cup of fatty juice from the turkey pan and heated it in a heavy bottomed skillet. Then I added ½ cup flour a little bit at a time whisking thoroughly to prevent lumps and make a smooth gravy. I added milk to the roux and continued to whisk thoroughly while it cooked over medium heat to a nice thickness. This was phenomenal gravy! I seasoned lightly with salt and black pepper.
I hope you have enjoyed the first part of our 2012 Thanksgiving Dinner! The excitement is high to share the rest of this incredible food journey with you! Oh, and as for orts left on our plates after dinner, there were none! Every single one of us cleaned our plates. Some of us more than once!