Thanksgiving is a really fun time for our family. I get to cook with wild abandon, and the family gets so much food that they can’t even eat it all. What is a more fun way to kick off the holiday season than having a feast?
Planning, however, is not as fun. I do enjoy figuring out what to cook. We all have our favorites and the traditional meal is somewhat the same from year to year. The problem is fitting it into the budget, along with the regular groceries is really tricky.
This year, I had to buy a turkey even! That was a sad affair, as I know how much better our own raised turkeys taste and how much better they are raised at our place. Sometimes you just have to buck up and feed the kids though, you know? I got a 20 lb bird, because the choice was between 20 and 13. We can eat a 13 lb bird in one meal, with may be a sandwich lunch extra. That doesn’t seem worth the effort.
The plan is to start thawing it on Monday night in our fridge. My MIL keeps it so unbelievably cold in there, that it is difficult to thaw anything that way. I will monitor the progress and by Wednesday, know if I have to switch to a cold water bath for the day to finish the job. Last year, I had to do an emergency thaw overnight, after my husband gave our fresh, pastured turkey away. I certainly hope that person enjoyed it. No more waiting on dh to provide the bird. It is safely in the freezer right now.
I have been brining the turkey for many years. It started out with a specific recipe from the Food Network, back when it was just a cooking channel. I have always been a fan, although it is getting a little too *glamorous* for my tastes. Now, I use this recipe that seems to work exceptionally well and no matter if you deep fry or roast the bird, it comes out unbelievably moist and flavorful.
1 cup salt
1 cup Brown sugar
1 sliced lemon
1 sliced orange
2 cinnamon sticks
small handful of cloves(1/8 cup)
Add all ingredients to 2 quarts of water to dissolve the sugar and salt. Then add to a large kettle, add the bird and add remaining water, until it is completely covered.
I use a huge kettle. The turkey has to be placed inside, with the seasonings and enough water to cover the bird. Do this the night before and keep in a cool place-really cool, like your fridge if you have one that is empty enough, out in an unheated garage if it is freezing cold outside(this is my normal technique). In the morning, lift your bird out of the brine and dry it off, then cook as you normally do.
This makes the bird so delicious that you wont have to add any flavoring before roasting. Really, simple but effective. In case you are swooning at the potential for all sorts of dangerous disease and illness, I also stuff my bird before baking! The horror!! LOL..