Holiday Dinners, How To Cook A Turkey

I love cooking for the holidays, love having people over and feeding them. This year I hosted Thanksgiving dinner at my place for a dozen friends who all brought amazing dishes to add to the table while I made the turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and brussell sprouts. This was the first time I had ever cooked a turkey and although I rarely eat meat I couldn’t deny my friends their bird. I had been reading various recipes all week and was going to try this one that included ginger candy in its brine but it was too long and complicated and took three days of prep work (who has three days to prep a turkey?) So instead I gathered inspiration from the handful of recipes I read and came up with my own and from the reaction of my friends, the turkey was a total success. About two days before throwing it in the oven I washed the already thawed bird clean, gave it a sea salt scrub down and threw it back in the fridge wrapped in a plastic bag. On T-day I took the bird out of its plastic bag early in the morning and put it back in the fridge uncovered for a few more hours. I diced a few crisp red apples, onions, celery, garlic and candied ginger, combined it all and threw it in the roasting pan and when it was ready to bake I put the turkey on top of that diced pile, throwing a few spoonfuls of the mixture inside the turkey as well. I then put about two to three sticks of sliced unsalted butter everywhere including under the turkey’s skin and all over the diced fruit/veggie concoction. I doused it all with olive oil before putting it in the oven, basting with white wine every 20 minutes for three hours (I followed the 15 minutes per pound rule at 350 degrees). It tasted amazing and was so moist and flavorful. The cranberry recipe is super easy, I always use the one on the back of the bag, with equal parts water and sugar. Brussell sprouts I usually do with olive oil, a pat of butter and a bit of salt. And for the mashed potatoes I like to add a ton of butter, salt, sour cream and grated parmesan cheese. It’s the parmesan cheese that is the secret ingredient. Sometimes I will add fresh chives and a bit of garlic as well. When I was younger I used to add grated white cheddar cheese as well but it’s so fatty that I stopped (though it is super tasty so if you feel you can deal with the extra calories and unhealthy stuff by all means add it, it’s worth it!) One of my friends made this amazing green beans au gratin recipe that I am obsessed with. Thankfully the leftovers stuffed my fridge all weekend. Who doesn’t want mashed potatoes and green beans for breakfast? Here is what you need for the turkey and mashed potatoes recipes above,

10 pound Turkey
3 sticks of unsalted butter, sliced
4 medium sized red crisp apples, diced
1 large white onion, diced
1 bottle of white wine (2 if you drink and cook…)
1 celery bunch, diced
1 whole head of garlic, peeled and chopped
3 table spoon of sea salt
A dozen pieces of candied ginger, chopped
Black pepper to taste

For the mashed potatoes, for a 10 pound bag
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
1/2 a pint of sour cream
1 stick of butter
salt to taste, fresh chopped chives

A sample from our dessert table…

Me with my gorgeous goddaughters and the turkey, fresh out of the oven.

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