Merry Thanksgiving! How to pull off the perfect turkey

"In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony." - Eva Burrows

"In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony." - Eva Burrows

Happy belated Thanksgiving, my dears! Hope your week has been spent relaxing with family, friends, or friends who are basically family. We spent the week in Atlanta with my fam. We switch off holidays with our families each year - so this means we'll be in NY with Ron's for Christmas. It's a pretty perfect system, I have to say (at least when no kids are involved on our behalf). 

Somehow I volunteered myself to make THE TURKEY this year. Who do I think I am?! I have made ONE good turkey in my life - what the hell made me think I could pull it off like a regular Barefoot Contessa? Who knows. So BASICALLY, I forgot that I made myself available for this until my dad called and asked how big of a turkey I needed. Um what? Esssscuse me? OH crap - yeah I did say I'd do it. I'm sure wine was involved when I made that commitment. Either way, I was in and had to make that bird.

If you ever find yourself in this predicament, do yourself a favor and follow this recipe by Alton Brown. You absolutely, 100% have to watch the video that goes along with it - it has a couple of extra tips and tricks that will help you out. IMPORTANT: This year I added one extra step - when I took the turkey out of the oven to rest, I flipped it onto the breast side, moved it to a new pan, and covered the entire thing with aluminum foil. This made all of the juice run to the breast portion so it stayed super moist. MAJOR WIN. Heat resistant gloves that allow you to manhandle the meat really help this process. This is hands down the most amazing, easy, AND fairly quick way to oven roast a turkey. 

NEXT - the gravy. After getting annoyed by complicated recipes that brand themselves as easy, I decided to wing it. This can be done in about 3 min:

  1. After you move the turkey to the new pan, pour a little bit of chicken stock into the original pan while it's still really hot. I didn't measure - maybe 2-3 tablespoons. Scrape the bottom of the roasting pan to get up any brown bits and pieces. Then pour it into a measuring cup so you have about a cup of drippings/stock.
  2. This is really 1B - while you are doing 1, melt 1/4 cup of butter in a small saucepan
  3. Once butter is melted, whisk in the drippings and another cup of chicken stock & keep it on medium heat. 
  4. Add 1/4 cup of flour and whisk your heart out - we don't like big white lumps! Whisk until smooth.
  5. Add salt, pepper, and a splash of red wine (if you want). Actually add any spices you want here. Whisk away!
  6. There ya go! You're done. You can keep it covered on low heat until you're ready to eat - just don't let it bubble up too much. I also kept the rest of the can of chicken stock handy in case it got too thick (it didn't, but I like security blankets). 

We had all of the typical sides, but we switched up the sweet potatoes this year. Everyone likes different toppings (I'm boring and just like a little sea salt), so we made a sweet potato bar (pictured below). Toppings included: cinnamon, a nut mixture, brown sugar, & marshmallows. It was a hit! 

FINALLY - when the meal was said and done we picked apart the turkey, saved all of the meat for leftovers, and threw the rest in a pot and made turkey stock. Woo! DOMESTIC!

Yowzers - this post is getting long. 

Friday, we did Thanksmas. Since we won't be here for Christmas, we did our secret santa gift swap way early. It's such a fun tradition - all of the adults participate & we play a game to guess who your SS was. ALSO nice because it takes the pressure off of buying a gift for everyone. For food, our manly men took to the smoker and fed us BBQ. Such a fun way to stretch out a 1 day holiday. 

OK - now get prepared for an overload of cute babies, Ron playing with a cute baby, a baby in skinny jeans, and BBQ! 

So, so much to be thankful for this year... and a few awesome things on the horizon!