As we imbark on the up-and-coming Thanksgiving meal with family and friends, I would like to express to you that this is an important time to cook...and I mean cook everything from scratch.
Here is a list of tip that will be most helpful in the preparation of your meal...
1. Brine your turkey
To ensure your bird is moist and flavorful, using a brining solution. See recipe below. This recipe is enough brine for a 10 to 18 lb. whole turkey.
1/2 gallon vegetable broth
1/2 gallon apple juice
1 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh sage1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon fresh savory
4 bay leaves
2 heads of garlic (cut in half)
1 oz black peppercorns
1 gallon ice water
1.In a large stock pot, combine the vegetable broth, apple juice, kosher salt, rosemary, sage, thyme, savory, bay leaf, garlic and black peppercorns. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to be sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
2.When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5 gallon bucket. Stir in the ice water.
3.Wash and dry your turkey. Make sure you have removed the innards. Place the turkey, breast down, into the brine. Make sure that the cavity gets filled. Place the bucket in the refrigerator overnight.
4.Remove the turkey carefully draining off the excess brine and pat dry. Discard excess brine.
5.Cook the turkey as desired reserving the drippings for gravy. Keep in mind that brined turkeys cook 20 to 30 minutes faster so watch the temperature gauge
2. Your gravy and stuffing can not be prepared without the giblets, juice and essence of the turkey. Use the neck and the wing tips to make a turkey stock. This will be the foundation of these traditional accompaniments.
3. Have fun with your cranberry sauce. This can be made in advance. Here is a recipe I have used for years.
1 cup pomegranate juice or water
1 cup white sugar
1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
2 cup fresh orange juice and the zest
1 apple, granny smith - peeled, cored and diced
1 pear, barlett - peeled, cored and diced1 cup chopped dried mixed fruit
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
1.In a medium saucepan, boil water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to simmer, and stir in cranberries, pureed orange, apple, pear, dried fruit, pecans, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature
4. This year start a new family tradition and try your hand at making a Thanksgiving Cocktail. These are the recipes I am preparing...
2 oz. Tequila
1 can Pumpkin puree
½ cup Brown sugar
¼ cup Sugar
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
1 pinch Nutmeg
2 cups Water
½ oz. Orange liqueur
½ Lime juice
Make pumpkin simple syrup by combining pumpkin puree with brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, and strain. Combine the juice of half a lime, tequila, and 2 oz. pumpkin simple syrup. Shake well and serve on the rocks.
Spiced Pumpkin Punch
2.5 oz. Aged rum
1 oz. Pineapple juice
¾ oz. Lemon juice
¾ oz. Orange juice
.5 oz. Spiced pumpkin puree
.5 oz. Date molasses
1 dash Bitters
Add all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Serve in a burgundy glass and garnish with nutmeg.
Lastly have a wonderful, memorable experience with you family and friend on Thanksgiving.
THIS IS THE FOOD, GATHERED AND BLESSED, THE CORN AND SWEET BERRIES, THE WILD TURKEY DRESSED SHARED ON THE VERY FIRST THANKSGIVING DAY!