I love any excuse to have all of my friends over for a big meal and Thanksgiving is just about the perfect excuse! Sunday night, we hosted a pre-Thanksgiving potluck at our place and boy did our talented friends deliver! We had everything from quinoa to red beet salad with citrus and nuts to veggie potato pancakes to bacon wrapped dates to pineapple apple pudding to fried chocolate chip cookie dough. That’s right, I said fried chocolate chip cookie dough.
These are just a few of the things cooked up on top of all of the traditional turkey day dishes. I handled the turkey (my first ever!) and cranberry sauce and made some mashed potatoes with greek yogurt and some roasted fennel and baby yellow carrots. I’m still waiting on our friends to send me their recipes (ahem) but for now, here is how I made my turkey. Also, be sure to check out this sweet little Thanksgiving post from The Sweet Beet. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!
The key to a good turkey is buying a fresh, organic bird (I got this 9 lb free range, hormone free turkey at Whole foods for $18) and brining! For this, I placed the turkey in a large zip lock bag (you’ll need a brining bag for larger turkeys) with 16 cups of ice water, 1 1/4 cups of kosher salt, and 1/2 cup of brown sugar. I got this ratio from What’s Gabby Cooking. You should let the turkey sit in the brine in your refrigerator overnight for about 12 hours. Let the turkey sit out for about an hour so so it returns to room temperature before cooking. Here is what I used for the seasoning:
5 cloves garlic minced
1 large shallot minced
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp fresh lemon basil
2 large sprinkles of sea salt
sprinkle of black pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (enough to cover the herbs)
I used some fresh chopped root vegetables (red potatoes, parsnips, carrots, celery, white onions) sprinkled with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Once you remove the turkey from the brine, pour the seasoning all over it, making sure to get it under the skin as well. Place the turkey on top of the veggies in your pan, pour in a cup of vegetable broth and a cup of water and cook at 375 degrees for about 3 hours (this is for a 9 lb turkey). Check cooking times for your bird size and always use a meat thermometer. When it’s done cooking, it should read 165 degrees farenheight in the innermost part of the thigh. Another good way to know when it’s done is when the juices start to run clear.