Let's cook our Turkey together

two days away

I have picked up the 24# fresh turkey and it's chilling in the fridge. Today is Tuesday and two days before the family and food begins. I am only in charge of cooking the Turkey with stuffing and making the gravy! Did I tell you, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday no gifts, no competition, just love and family, hopefully! This, however, can also be a very stressful holiday for the person hosting so I thought I might share some culinary secrets to make the day easier. First of all shop early!

Second...DELEGATE! We come from a family of close Italian heritage and every one of my siblings is 'let me say' over the top giving! So if you ask them to bring dessert OMG you will get dessert! Got the picture? And so the host has to be deliberate in the delegation of duties.

Third do your part? I am assigned the turkey so today I begin my preparation. I chop my celery and onion for the stuffing and saute them until clear. Then I refrigerate the mixture until I am ready to assemble the stuffing. I work outside the home so time for cooking is limited and I need to be organized. Besides, if you wait to do everything the day of a party you will be too exhausted to enjoy the party; so do as much ahead of time as possible. Today I also minced some walnuts to go into the dressing. The bread for the stuffing is drying on a cookie rack. I'm getting hungry. This is the only day of the year I make stuffing and so for me it is a real treat.

Counting down day two, Wednesday. The turkey is in the pan and covered with Saran waiting to be stuffed in the morning. PLEASE never stuff your turkey the night before and let it sit overnight, people could get very sick from cross contamination. I am boiling the neck bone, tail bone, liver and gizzards for a flavorful broth to moisten my dried bread. I break the bread into a large mixing bowl and cover until morning when I will combine all my ingredients and stuff the turkey. Shhh, I am going to mince the liver into my stuffing for flavor no one has ever noticed.

It is 4:30 am. Thanksgiving day. A bit groggy, I pull the Turkey from the fridge . My bread is ready and I take my onions, celery, walnuts and broth and add to the bread, mixing gently. Then I peel and core a golden delicious apple and chop it into the mixture. I crack three large raw eggs and season the stuffing with parsley, course ground pepper and thyme. All blended it is time to stuff the Turkey. There is plenty of stuffing to fill the body cavity and the neck. All done and into the oven at 450@ to seal in the juices. I decide to go back to bed for the hour that the sealing process takes. I awake to the smoke alarm, surrounded by all the anxious inhabitants of the house. It turns out a fresh turkey does not have the moisture of a frozen one and there are no drippings in the bottom of the pan. But all is well! Thankfully the smoke detector works and the turkey is nicely browned but not at all burnt. I turn the oven down to 300@ and place the turkey, covered with Saran and foil, back in the oven to slow cook. Another Thanksgiving memory, enjoy your day everyone!


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