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Thanksgiving could be the one time of year you cook.
You might get the same feeling when you show up at Rockefeller Center and everyone is out there in tights and sweaters doing back flips and salchows.
You start strapping on your skates, your heart rate goes up and you think “I can do that.”
The thing about Thanksgiving is, there is often a crowd coming and though we don,t always admit it straight out, we,re cooking for compliments. Nobody fights their way through the slightly frozen section to haul a twenty pound bird home and cook it up with sixteen side dishes and not expect a slap down moment of silence followed by, “THAT was delicious”. Come on now.
If you haven’t been practicing, take the tights off and put your jeans back on. People are most impressed when you land on your feet. Cook what you know, and if you want to go crazy, keep it for the cranberries with a can in the pantry just in case.
If all you have is butter, salt, pepper and an onion, you,re all right. Dry the turkey really well (no washing). Preheat the oven. Pull out the giblets and neck, checking all cavities, front and back. season that thing inside and out with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Push an onion and anything else you have into the large cavity and tie the legs together. tuck the wings underneath the body. Put the neck in a pan of water with an onion and some salt. If you have aromatics (cel. Carrot, parsley, bay leaf, leek) even better. simmer with no lid. set the oven to 375 and shove the turkey in there with a good rub of butter, on a rack set in a roasting pan. Find another pair of hands to peel potatoes, crowd them into a covered pan, give them a good pinch of salt, a good hunk butter and just enough water to cover. drain and mash as soon as they are tender. Heat them back up later. do the string beans and carrots the same way (no mashing). Taste both for salt, pepper and more salt.
SautÃ© an onion in butter with celery if you have it and mushrooms if they are acceptable. add a chopped up loaf of excellent bread. season with salt and pepper. Baste the bird every twenty minutes. Add drippings to the stuffing along with stock from the neck, til soft and mushy. butter a casserole and add the stuffing; bake covered for an hour. A half hour before the turkey is done, push the stuffing in the large cavity by cutting the strings, and gently spooning In as much as you can easily fit. the turkey is done, when you insert a small sharp knife into the thickest part between the thigh and the leg, and when you carefully touch the blade of the knife to your lip, it,s super hot. Knock yourself out with the bag of cranberries and call in the troops to bring pies.
Happy Thanksgiving and all my love.