Monday, November 30, 2009

After Thanksgiving

Well, it was a great Thanksgiving, besides some ups and downs that showed themselves during the cooking process. Let’s start with the turkey. I followed Alton Brown’s Good Eats Roast Turkey recipe (, which included brining the turkey, something I’d never done before.

The night before Thanksgiving, I prepared the brine and submerged my little nine pounder in the salty liquid, put the lid on, and refrigerated it overnight. The following morning (Thanksgiving Day), I pulled it out, rinsed it off, trussed it up, and followed Alton’s suggested recipe. My plan was to start the turkey in the oven at the high temperature it recommends and then move it to a portable roaster for the remainder of the cooking. Everything worked out great until I decided to test the temperature of my turkey at what should have been the half way mark. To my surprise it was DONE! Yikes! Though I had prepped about half of my side dishes the night before, I still had a lot of finishing touches to do on the yams and mashed potatoes, and I still had to prepare the green bean casserole, stuffed mushrooms, dressing, salad, and gravy.

The turkey needed to rest for about 20 minutes before I could carve it, but these side dishes were going to take more than that to prepare. So I enlisted the help of my very kitchen capable husband, Andy, who did a wonderful job preparing the green beans and the mushrooms. Within an hour, we had everything prepped and ready to go. The turkey carving was interesting. They make it look so easy on the Food Network to take the breasts off the bird but I had a hard time cracking through those bones to get to the breast meat. But finally I was able to get it off and cut the meat along the grain, keeping most of the moist juices inside the bird. The brining did its trick! The turkey was extremely moist and tender and held up to the rest of the meal.

The dressing was a hit. I used Tyler Florence’s recipe for Roasted Chestnut and Sausage Dressing ( and everyone loved it. It was moist and crunchy at the same time and the Italian sausage was sweet and spicy.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to cook the meal for my family and to try out some new recipes to boot!

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