So you’re hosting Thanksgiving. Breathe. It will be okay. No Egrets and I have done this twice, and our relationship, my family, and ourselves survived each time. A few pieces of advice: Clean your house this weekend, and don’t let anyone through the door for the remaining three days before Thanksgiving. Stock up on cookies and drinks. If anyone starts getting cranky ply them with cookies, drinks, or both until they are happy again. Feel free to use this technique on yourself. Cook No Egrets’ beautiful Heroic Turkey. Take to your bed after the guests are gone, and stay there all day. Also read this.
5 gallon food grade bucket
Fresh rosemary, thyme, sage
Black peppercorns, sea salt
2 magnums cheap white wine
Taters, turnips, onion, parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes
Get a 5 gallon bucket (that your turkey fits into) from the hardware store
— just a white plastic food-grade bucket.
Stuff your bird into it.
Pour a large bottle of cheap pinot noir or white table wine over it. Add
1/8 cup sea salt.
In a saucepan, heat 1 stick butter or 1/4 cup olive oil and saute an onion
until soft. Add rosemary, bay, garlic, ginger, and 1/4 cup black
peppercorns to the oil. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, let
cool, and put in blender until it looks like salad dressing. Pour into
bucket. Cover with ice.
Put the bucket someplace cold for 24 hours. If you don’t have a cold place
— a beer fridge or something — you can freeze the marinade and keep the
bucket on ice in a cooler (or outside if it is cold enough).
Grease the bottom of your roasting pan with olive oil. Add cubes of potato,
parsnip, carrot, sweet potato, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper — make a
bed of starchy veggies. Lay the bird on the bed. Drain and discard all
liquid — it will look bloody and nasty.
Rub the skin of the bird with butter. Take sprigs of rosemary and poke them
through the skin of the breast. You can do this any way that looks nice —
just pull the skin away from the meat of the breast, and pack herbs under
there, or pierce the twigs of rosemary through. To really make it
beautiful, I lace some thin-sliced bacon across the top, latticed with
rosemary twigs and bits of fresh thyme. Fresh sage is a good one for
turkey, too — you need it in the stuffing. Get some garlic and ginger
under the skin, too, or at least under the bacon.
Now, you need stuffing.
Heat 2 cups of Chicken stock in a stock pot, and let it reduce. In a pan,
brown 1/2 lb. sausage in 1/4 stick of butter. Sautee chopped onion, celery,
black pepper, sage, garlic, rosemary and thyme. Pour all of this over 6-8
cups of toasted bread cubes. Add broth until everything is coated, but
don’t overmix — you don’t want it all to disintegrate, though it’s ok if it
turns to meaty pudding, too.
I like ground nuts (chestnuts are great) in mine as well. Walnuts and
pecans are great…pistachios….about 1/2 – 3/4 cup.
Pack the cavity of the bird right before it goes in the oven. Never pack
the cavity the night before.
Corn bread stuffing works the same way — bake your cornbread ahead of time,
let it sit for a couple of days to dry out, and then toast it on a cookie
sheet before mixing the stuffing.
Follow Julia Child’s slow-roasting guidelines.
Don’t time your roast — use a meat thermometer. They cost $10 at Bed Bath
-goldlentil and no egrets