Talking Turkey

I stand in the shadows of my mother and her mother when it comes to the kitchen. I watched and learned for many years as they worked their special magic with the food for family gatherings. I miss them both terribly, but I do my best to live up to their legacy of love and food and fun, especially at Thanksgiving.

I will follow our family tradition and do two turkeys, one roasted and one smoked. Both will be brined overnight. Here’s one of my family secrets for juicy turkey. As you may know, one of the tricky parts is getting the thigh/leg cooked without drying out the breast. This solves that problem:

About 30 minutes before you begin cooking the turkey, put ice cubes in zip-lock bags. Then drape the zip-lock bags so the ice is sitting on each breast. Hold in place with a heavy item, like canned goods. This chills the breast meat so it starts the cooking process colder than the rest of the turkey. Works perfectly!

The turkey is the star, but I will also prepare (with the help of my children Austin, Maddie, and Lily) three stuffings: oyster, sourdough with bacon and  wild mushroom, and wild rice with sausage and goat cheese. There will also be green beans and Dijon Brussels sprouts.  Lots of creamy mashed potatoes with scratch gravy will round out the meal. And for dessert, of course, pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream.  And this year a special cake for my grandson Conner’s first birthday.

Here’s wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving full of loving chaos, good food, and honored traditions.

 - Claire

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