Well, it’s that time of year again and I thought I’d give you a great Thanksgiving dinner menu. Roast turkey cooked to perfection with the sides that round out a great bird! This is one of my favorite times of the year to spend half the day in the kitchen so you’re in for a treat. I hope you’ll enjoy this Thanksgiving dinner as much as I do so without further delay, let’s get into it!
1 cube butter or margarine (softened)
8-9 leaves “fresh” sage
8-9 tops “fresh” parsley
This is really very easy. Start by thoroughly washing the turkey and removing the neck bone and gizzards. Set aside the neck bone and gizzards, we’ll be using those later. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Thoroughly dry your bird.
Next, chop your parsley and sage. Add your cube of butter to a small bowl and stir in the herbs. Take a small amount (1/4) of this mixture and smear it all over the turkey.
In a small pan melt the remaining butter mixture over low heat. Give it a good stir. This will be for basting your turkey. Cook the butter mixture for about 5 minutes or so to incorporate the herb flavor into the butter. Turn off the heat and cover.
Place a rack into a baking dish big enough to handle the turkey. You want to have the turkey elevated so that air passes underneath and the bottom doesn’t get soggy from the drippings.
Place it in your preheated 350 degree oven.
Using a brush, baste the turkey about every 30 minutes or so. (You may have to reheat the butter once or twice as it may start to solidify on you). Continue cooking and basting for about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. By this time your basting liquid should be used up. Rotate your bird if you see one side browning faster than the other. Not all ovens cook evenly.
At this point your turkey should be browning up nicely. When your turkey gets the right color on top, cover the breast meat (the top) but leave the legs exposed. I just put a piece of foil over the breast. This is because the breast meat (white) dries out faster than leg meat (dark). We want the entire bird to be fully cooked but still nice and juicy.
Continue to cook for another 1/2 hour to 1 hour. You’re looking for an “internal” temperature of about 165 degrees. The way to find this out is with a “probe thermometer” or “stick thermometer”. Insert your thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh meat! This is very important to ensure that your turkey is completely cooked. When you get a reading of 165 degrees your turkey is done so remove it from the oven and completely cover it with foil. This will allow the turkey to continue cooking with “carryover” heat and keep the moisture in.
Note: Knowing “when” to take your turkey out of the oven is the hardest part of cooking a turkey since it’s bigger than most things people cook during the year. Pull it out too early and parts of it will be under cooked, pull it out too late and it will be dry. So it is very important that you use a thermometer. When you insert your thermometer into the thigh make sure it is not touching the bone because you will not get an accurate reading. So please take the time to get this right, it makes a big difference in your Thanksgiving dinner.
While your turkey is cooking, lets move on to the broth. This will be used for the stuffing and the gravy.
6 cups chicken broth
neck bone and giblets
1/2 onion (rough chop)
2 sticks celery (rough chop)
3 cloves “fresh” garlic
8-9 leaves “fresh” sage
8-9 tops “fresh” parsley
salt and pepper to taste
This will take around 10 minutes or so.
When they are nice and browned add the chicken broth and everything else.
It’s not important on how you chop the vegetables and herbs as you’ll be straining the whole thing leaving you with a beautiful and flavorful broth.
Leave your pan on high heat until it comes to the boil.
Once it reaches the boil, reduce the heat to low and tightly cover.
Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
The trick here is to not let the liquid evaporate at all.
You want all of that wonderful liquid. Strain it into a bowl.
Note: If you want the giblets in your gravy, remove them before you strain the liquid and set aside for now.
1 carrot (small dice)
2 sticks celery (small dice)
1/4 green pepper (small dice)
1/4 red pepper (small dice)
1/4 onion (small dice)
3-4 leaves “fresh” sage (chopped)
3-4 tops “fresh” parsley (chopped)
1/2lb. Italian sausage
2 cloves “fresh” garlic (minced or crushed)
1 2/3 cups of your broth
The goal here is not to brown the bread but to dry it out.
Remove it from the oven, cut it into cubes and spread them out onto a plate to dry out a little more.
Dice up all your veggies into very small cubes, about 1/4 inch. Small chop the herbs and mince your garlic.
In a very large skillet, brown the Italian sausage breaking it up to resemble “taco meat”.
After it has browned (about 10 minutes) add the vegetables and sautee until they’re soft ( another 10 minutes or so).
Stir in your dried bread and herbs and “slowly” start to add the broth. It may take a little more or a little less than the 1 2/3ds cups of liquid so add a little at a time. How much liquid you add will depend on your personal taste, some like it soggy and some like it a little more dry.
Once you get the consistency you like add it to a baking dish, cover it tightly and place in your preheated 350 degree oven (under the turkey). Bake it for 30 to 45 minutes or until the top just starts to dry out. Your stuffing is now done.
4 cups broth
5 tbsp. flour
salt and pepper to taste (optional)
Remove your cooked turkey to a plate. Add the pan drippings to a medium size pan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Add the flour and stir until you have a nice roux and there are no lumps of flour.
You’ll notice at this point that it may “look” a little lumpy but that’s because there are little bits of the turkey that fell into the drippings, that’s fine.
Stir in the broth a little at a time while you stir until it’s all in there.
(If you want to add the giblets now is the time, just chop them into tiny pieces and stir them in.)
Bring the gravy to a boil and then reduce the heat to a slow simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until it has thickened and it’s ready to go. You may want to taste it to see if it needs any salt or pepper.
Ingredients: Mashed Potatoes
4 teas. salt
enough “cold” water to cover potatoes
1 1/2 cubes butter or margarine
1/2 cup milk
Wash and peel your potatoes.
Dice them into about 1in. cubes.
Add the cubed potatoes to a pot and fill with enough “cold” water to cover.
Why cold water? When you add the potatoes to boiling water it will cook the outside of the potatoes too quickly, leaving the inside uncooked. By adding them to cold water you allow the water and potatoes to heat evenly. This ensures the outside and inside of the potatoes cook at the same time.
Place your pan of cold water and potatoes on the stove, add the salt and turn the heat to high.
Once it comes to the boil, boil them uncovered for 10-12 minutes. Until a fork pushes into them pretty easily.
Testing them with a fork will allow you to see if they are soft but still firm.
After 10-12 minutes turn the heat off and cover them.
Let stand for 10 minutes. This will finish the cooking process without turning the potatoes to mush.
While your potatoes are resting add the milk and butter to a microwave safe bowl and microwave on on high for 1-1 1/2 minutes. Long enough to melt the butter.
Or add them to a small pan and heat over medium low heat for about 8 minutes or so.
Strain the potatoes and dump them into a large mixing bowl. Add the melted butter and milk and mash them up. That’s it, they’re ready!
Note: If they’re too thick for you just add a little more milk.
For the broccoli:
Just cut your broccoli into florets, place them in a steamer insert. Fill the pan for the insert with enough water so that it does not touch the insert. Bring it to a boil, place your insert in and cover. Steam for about 10-12 minutes or until the broccoli is tender. It’s ready.
For the cranberry sauce:
I cheated on this part 🙂 I’m one of those weirdos that likes the jellied cranberry sauce so I just bought a can but you can use anything you like.
And there you have it! Thanksgiving dinner! Add some dinner rolls, a salad some pumpkin pie or whatever you like and you’ll have one fabulous Thanksgiving dinner!
The turkey is incredibly moist and tender. Cooking it the right way really makes a big difference and is by far the star of the meal. The Italian sausage in the stuffing ads a wonderful flavor and making your own is soooo much better than those “boxes” you buy in the store. The home made broth is hands down better than anything you can get in the store and so much more satisfying. Round this whole thing out with a few more goodies and you’ll be “lovin it!” A great Thanksgiving dinner is well worth the time and effort you’ll put into it and your people will thank you for it. Enjoy and Happy Cooking!