Series: How To Cook Thanksgiving Dinner: The Main Item

This is a series of links to recipes, videos and more for creating your perfect holiday feast. The first one is for the main item, the turkey, crown roast or whole roasted cauliflower for a vegan option.Nut Crusted Fresh Fruit Tart

Following series over the next few days leading up to the big day, will be the following posts:

  • Vegetables and side dishes
  • Breads and rolls
  • Desserts
  • What to do with left overs

Whether this is your first Thanksgiving dinner or your 50th, here are some tips and recipes for making the feast stress free.

I’m linking to the posts I’ve published over the years so click the links and create the Perfect Thanksgiving meal!

Let’s take a look at The Main Item

How to Roast a Turkey – a Step by step guide, with pictures.

Remember to click on the links for the full posts!

Of course if you don’t eat bacon, don’t use it, but it sure is delicious! If not using bacon, be sure to baste the bird every 1/2 hour. If the skin gets to dark, tent it with foil.

Tips for the Turkey:

  • Order fresh organic birds well in advance
  • If getting a frozen bird, allow it 3-4 days to thaw in your refrigerator
  • If brining your bird, remember to keep it cold
  • Open up all the cavities and remove any packets of innards, necks etc, from the inside, use these to make stock for gravy
  • Allow ample time to roast the bird and to let the bird rest at least 20 minutes before you start carving.
  • Save the bones to make stock. I love making stock on a cold dreary day. It makes everything smell so warm!

Turkey Roasting Chart for unstuffed and stuffed birds: Calculate your roasting time with this chart http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/turkeyroastingchart.html

Cover with bacon strips to baste the turkey during the initial phase of roasting. Remember the large bird will roast for several hours. After the first 2-3 hours, the bacon will be done, remove it and this becomes the "cooks treat". Continue roasting the bird, basting every 30-40 minutes. The skin will crisp and become golden brown. If the skin starts to get too brown before the bird is done, tent it with foil.

Cover with bacon strips to baste the turkey during the initial phase of roasting. Remember the large bird will roast for several hours. After the first 2-3 hours, the bacon will be done, remove it and this becomes the “cooks treat”. Continue roasting the bird, basting every 30-40 minutes. The skin will crisp and become golden brown. If the skin starts to get too brown before the bird is done, tent it with foil.

If Turkey isn’t on your menu but a Crown Roast is,

Here is a video from Charlotte Cooks on How to make a Crown Roast of Pork or Lamb (Mint Sauce recipe on the site)

Watch it here:

Tips for the Crown Roast:

  • Be sure to order your roast well is advance from your butcher. These aren’t typically an “off the shelf” kind of item. they will even french the bones (recommended) and tie it for you, just ask.
  • Use your favorite stuffing
  • Use a meat thermometer to cook it just right:
    • Rare: 135°F remove at 125°F and allow carry over cooking to reach 135°F
    • Medium Rare: 140°F Remove at 135°F and allow carry over to reach 140°F
    • Medium: 145°F Remove at 140°F and allow carry over to reach 145°F
    • Mid well to well 150°F and above. It is suggested to remove the number of well done portions from the others and finish those later rather than subject the entire roast to well-doneness disaster.
  • Carry over cooking is when the internal temperature of the meat continues to rise after it is removed from the oven.
  • Allow the roast to rest at least 20 minutes before slicing.

If a vegan meal is on your menu, you can Roast a Whole Cauliflower.

We love this and have it often during the year.

Tips for the Vegan Roast:

Plated roasted cauliflower

Plated roasted cauliflower

  • Buy large unblemished organic cauliflower; it really has the best flavor.
  • Use Greek yogurt, it’s thicker. Or drain plain yogurt in cheesecloth or a strainer over night to thicken it.
  • Use any leftovers to make a delicious soup!

 

So! There are some ideas for your main menu item on the Thanksgiving table.

Next up: Vegetable side dishes!

Happy Holidays!

#thanksgiving #thanksgivingrecipes #thanksgivingdinner #howtoroastaturkey #howtomakeacrownroast #stuffing #holidaymeal #veganroast

 

 

 

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Turkey Sausage with Peppers and Tomatoes

It is cold and sleeting out today with a high of 27°F. A thin layer of ice coats everything.

Robert went out to do some foul weather errands before it gets really bad this evening.

Icicles

While he was out, I decided it would be quite nice to have a nice big pot of turkey sausage with sautéed peppers and tomatoes over some pasta for lunch. We just finished off a large pot of chicken soup last night so it was too soon to eat soup again.

English: Green, yellow and red bell peppers fr...

English: Green, yellow and red bell peppers from the capsicum annum plant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used yellow and green peppers, onions, garlic and diced tomatoes. Everything got chopped into a large dice and set aside. Choose yellow and green peppers  because of the red in the tomatoes. This dish looks so good with lots of different colors.

A pound of turkey sausage (remove the casing if you want) gets sliced and sautéed, add the vegetables and simmer everything while you boil pasta and make a salad.

Add fresh garlic bread if you like.

A steaming bowl of sausage and peppers over some spaghetti is a perfect lunch for a day like today. Let’s eat by the fire!

Turkey Sausage and Peppers

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1  large diced yellow pepper
  • 1 large diced green pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds  peeled, seeded and diced tomatoes
    (Canned diced tomatoes are a good substitute)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
  • kosher salt to taste

Method:

Prepare all the vegetables and sausage. Keep items separate until ready to cook.

Heat the oil in a deep saute pan, add the turkey sausage, toss to brown the sausage. When sausage begins to brown, add the onions, peppers and cook for 5 minutes over medium high heat.

Add the bay leaves and the herbs de Provence and garlic, stir to combine.

When the bottom of the pan begins to turn brown, add the remaining ingredients, stir well and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Like I mentioned earlier, you can make a salad and garlic bread while the pasta is cooking or just pour yourself a glass of wine.

Enjoy!

DSC_0087Turkey sausage and peppers

How To Roast a Turkey

Dear Tyler,

Roasting a good turkey takes time.

A roast turkey prepared for a traditional U.S....

See the pop-up timer in the bird? (the white thing)

Your first turkey!

The adventure begins.

If you use an aluminum roasting pan, put a sheet pan under it and do not lift the foil pan without the sheet pan support.

The bird:

Defrost:

See the post on 4 ways to safely thaw food.

Whenever you handle poultry products, act as if you are handling potential contaminates.

Defrost in the refrigerator: at least 5 hours per pound.

If on roasting day it is still not thawed, complete the thawing under clean running water. Again, see 4 safe methods for thawing food.

Be sure to wash your sink both before and after rinsing the bird.

Remove the bird from the wrapper. Do this in the sink because of all the juices that will be in the bag from defrosting. If your bird has a bag of giblets, neck and livers, remove it. Some use these to make a stock and gravy but I don’t.

Your Grandfather (my dad) loves the neck! He would boil it and then pick all the little slivers of meat off the tiny neck bones, savoring every morsel.

You, on the other hand, can throw them away unless you like such things.

Rinse the bird.

Pat the bird dry with paper towels.

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

Before the oven gets hot, take a look at the shelves and adjust them so the turkey will fit in. In my oven the only rack that will fit is the bottom rack. It leaves just the right amount of space between the top heating elements and the bird.

While the oven is preheating, finish preparing the bird.

Place your aluminum roasting pan onto a sheet pan for safety. The aluminum pan is not strong enough to hold a 15-pound bird without support.

Chop carrots , celery and onions (not you, Tyler) to line the bottom of the roasting pan.

Chop your carrots and celery into chunks and place them on the bottom of the pan. If you liked onions, you would put some of those in there too. Since you don’t like them, leave them out.

Place the turkey, breast side up into the pan. Tuck the wings under the shoulders so the tips don’t burn in the long roasting process.

Gently loosen the skin and press some seasoned butter under the skin. This will help baste the bird as it roasts.

Season the skin and place some herbs, orange or citrus fruit into the cavity. Season inside the bird too. Season it with salt, pepper, your favorite spice mixture, what ever seasonings you like.

Tie the legs together and plump up the breasts.

Cover with bacon strips to baste the turkey during the initial phase of roasting. Remember the large bird will roast for several hours. After the first 2-3 hours, the bacon will be done, remove it and this becomes the “cooks treat”. Continue roasting the bird, basting every 30-40 minutes. The skin will crisp and become golden brown. If the skin starts to get too brown before the bird is done, tent it with foil.

Cover the surface of the turkey with bacon strips.

Place the supported roasting pan into the oven. Reduce the heat to 325°F. Roast until the internal temperature reads 165°F or higher in the leg or thigh. For your 15 pound bird that will take about 3 1/2 to 4 hours, maybe longer.

My 17 pound bone-in breast took 6 hours.

If the bird starts to get too brown, cover it with a tin foil tent.

When the bird is done, remove from the oven and allow the bird to rest at least 1/2 hour (covered in foil) before carving.

How do you carve a turkey? I found this video on You Tube that shows you step by step.

I didn’t have time to make a video for you, sorry.

Enjoy your Turkey! Take pictures of your first.

How odd in our culture, roasting your first turkey is some kind of right of passage.

I love cooking this meal and hope you do too.

Watch the carving video, use a sharp knife and enjoy your dinner!

Here is a tip:

Place your cutting board in a sheet pan to catch all the juices that run out while carving. Stir these juices into your gravy.

Tyler, remember, I am just a phone call away if you get stuck.

There are also many other “Turkey Hot Lines” for those  who get stuck.

If all else fails and you totally blow it, Chinese restaurants are usually open on Thanksgiving as an Emergency Back-up Unit.

Love you!

Mom