Despite new covid rules and stern warnings about large family gatherings at this absolutely family gathering occasion, we did share our Thanksgiving meal with close family. We were only four, but we still managed to celebrate Thanksgiving with pumpkins, turkey, and the best of Ocean Spray’s Jellied Cranberry Sauce! You know, the kind that comes out in the shape of the can and cuts into perfectly round shiny disks. This cranberry sauce is actually one of my favorites.
Once again, I sidelined dinner a bit by photographing a few dishes from the feast before we all dug in. In fact, everyone pitched in by holding props and getting in on composition and lighting. Although, much to my regret, I did forget to include my gravy and a wonderful apple crumble pie in the picture. It would have fit in the frame wonderfully… next time. Here’s the full menu.
Haricot Verts with Toasted Almonds
Apple Crumble Pie
I have to say that the most difficult dish on this menu was the appetizer. I think it’s brilliant in that it is a one dish shared appetizer, but it does have a fair number of components so you must allow time, or prepare the components a day ahead and just assemble before serving. Also, either microwave the nachos, or place in a hot 450 oven for 3-4 minutes, keep an eye on the nachos to make sure that the cheese does not melt into a puddle!
The rest of the meal was a snap. Starting with my two ingredient no-fail roast turkey. I have used this same recipe, which I learned from my Mother, for as long as I can remember having turkey, and then making it myself. And while I recorded the recipe quite some time ago, I never published it because turkey is usually a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal and since I made it for these occasions, I was always too late for anyone else to use the recipe for the same occasions.
Well, this year I thought I would finally publish the recipe and hope that someone south of the border will give my ‘two ingredient no fail’ roast turkey recipe a try for their Thanksgiving dinner, and then, of course there is always Christmas.
My recipe for Roast Turkey is as simple as can be. Just season the turkey the night before you plan to roast it, cover with plastic wrap and put in your fridge over night. When you season the turkey, make sure that you are generous to the point where you can see the salt on the turkey. And make sure that you cover all surfaces, including the cavity.
Take the turkey out of the fridge a couple of hours before you plan to start the roast. This will allow it to come to room temperature which will ensure that you get an even roast. If you would like to stuff the turkey, then I recommend that you stuff the breast and I show you how to do this in photos with the recipe. Placing the stuffing in this section keeps the stuffing from becoming soggy as the turkey lets out juices while roasting.
Pre heat your oven to 350, add a bit if water just to cover the bottom of the pan, 1 banana pepper, one tomato cut in half (don’t ask my why the tomato and the pepper, it’s just a Hungarian thing) place the pan on the middle rack of your oven and roast your 8-10 pound turkey for 2 to 3 hours. Count on 3 hours to make sure that the turkey will be done in time for your dinner. But, taking the turkey out of the oven a half hour before you are ready to serve is just fine, so if it’s done in under three hours, do remove it as otherwise it may dry out.
Baste at least every 30 minutes, this is really important! The turkey is done when it has reached a nice golden color, like in the picture above.
The pan gravy is just a cup or so of juices from the pan combined with a slurry of 2 tablespoons of flour and 1/2 of a cup of water added to the pan juices. You must use a wire whisk to combine the flour with the water to make the slurry and then you must whisk the slurry with the pan juices. Bring this all to a boil and then simmer for a few minutes. I don’t have a separate recipe for the pan gravy or the haricots verts, but the gravy is pretty simple and you can certainly substitute your favorite green vegetable for the beans that I served.
I have never cooked a dry turkey and I have always used this method for the many turkeys I roasted over the years. I you would feel more comfortable, you can get a poultry thermometer and check the internal temperature to convince yourself that the turkey is done.
Happy Thanksgiving and I hope that you try this mini Thanksgiving feast with your family.