Yes, yes….I know this is several days overdue to you all but better late than never, right?! J
Now, where did I leave off….
It’s Thursday morning and I’m ready to tackle this turkey. As I lift it out of the fridge I’m both excited and nervous. I grab ahold of the mesh bag and hear crunch as I place the turkey in the sink. Uh oh – it’s still frozen. L
A longish story short and a slew of responses on both twitter and Facebook with half saying go for it and the other half saying I shouldn’t do it…I decide that I’m going for it.
As I start to rinse the turkey I find the bag (yep the icky were in a bag this time!!) and put them in a grocery bag that my husband, who is standing beside me, is holding and I drop it in. I flip the turkey to get the other side and realize that the legs are frozen together – well this isn’t good. I turned the water a little warmer to see if I can sorta kinda defrost it enough to rinse the cavity out. Wahoo it worked and the legs parted. Inside I could see something. Huh. I already took the bag out. What in the world could be in there…perhaps another bag? As the water ran in and softened the turkey enough so I could grab whatever was in there I pulled out a neck. Uh – okay. No one told me about the neck but after the chicken incident I was rather unfazed. Yay for me! My husband on the other hand let out an “Ewwww”. I squealed in delight (seriously I jumped up and down and laughed!) that he had this response (see part 2 for the reason why!) and then he says “Why would you do that?” questioning why anyone would put the neck back in the bird and why would anyone eat that or the other parts. He sure does make me laugh.
I finally got the bird rinsed and by the time the turkey didn’t really feel frozen. So I patted it dry and followed the suggestions of Alton Brown for a perfectly roasted bird while hearing “Just put the f*ckin turkey in the oven!” I should stop here to say if you haven’t seen the video for this – you have to! It’s both hilarious and makes perfect sense – at least to me. Long before chefs tried to make the turkey more interesting people just cooked the darn bird. So I decided to just keep it simple. I cut up half a red apple, half an onion and a cup of chicken stock and microwaved it for 5 minutes and dumped it into the bird cavity with some sage leaves and rosemary springs. Then I smeared vegetable oil on top and sprinkled the turkey with salt and pepper. According to Alton Brown’s directions the turkey should cook for 30 minutes at a preheated 500 degree oven and then drop to 350 for 2 ½ hours for a 14-16 pound bird (which ours is). Perfect. I can do this I say to myself as I feel my confidence rise. I really am much more a ‘follow the recipe’ kind of girl I’m not so great at winging it – well at least until I’ve done something a few times then I can. This being a first time, of course, I really did need a recipe to follow.
So the oven preheated to 500, I put the turkey in the oven, timer set, and wait. I honestly didn’t dare do much for that first half hour for fear of forgetting it was in the oven and burning the whole thing. Half hour up and I drop the temperature down to 350 and set the timer. Oh I also put a piece of tin foil over the top so the skin wouldn’t burn. So far so good.
So an hour goes by and I’m putter around the house, watching parts of the parade and wander back out to the kitchen thinking there must be something I can do. As this thought goes through my head I glance at the timer and only an hour and 20 minutes left. Awesome. Wait. Not awesome! Dinner is supposed to be between 3-4 and now I’ve gone and used this recipe and the turkey will now be done around 1:30! This is a far cry from the 5 hours I’d estimated using the 20 minutes per pound rule.
It’s at this point a few unmentionable words run through my head as I realize my mom won’t be here and I’ve started nothing else! After explaining to my husband about the time change he rolls his eyes, realizing he may not get a shower before my mom gets here. I call my mom, who also hasn’t showered yet nor finished the potatoes she’s bringing. She is, on the other hand, happy dinner will be earlier as she really hates driving in the dark.
When the timer went off I pulled the turkey which both looked and smelled wonderful – just as a turkey should. I should back up for a quick second here and share that on Tuesday I went and bought a meat thermometer. I figured if I use it I use it and if I don’t then I have one for when I need to measure the temp of something else. Jump back forward to Thursday – I’m sooooooo glad I have a meat thermometer to use! You remember how I told you I’m so afraid of under cooking chicken, right, well I’m glad I had this fear and measured the temp of the turkey. Again I’m glad no one was around to see me but I must have stuck that bird at least 10 times checking in different spots and angles making sure everything measure at least 165. All was good until I got around to the thigh. 147. That’s not 165; back in the oven. I must have done this another 3 or 4 times over the next 45 minutes. I wasn’t taking any chances.
It actually worked out just fine for both my mom and husband as they had time to shower. J The upside to the extra 45 minutes it took I was able to get the rest of dinner together (and open a bottle of wine!). After letting the turkey rest for 15-20 minutes I had Mark carve it with my watchful eye keeping guard for ‘pink meat’. To which none appeared! Wahoo!
It actually turned out okay. All the worrying, fretting, panicking – it was okay. Dinner was lovely even if it was much smaller than I’m used to. The stuffing wasn’t too dry or too sticky; the Brussels sprouts and red onion were a little over done but still tasty; and the turkey. The turkey was pretty darn good. The breast meat was a little drier than I would have liked but not too bad and the dark meat (my favorite part) had a lovely hint of the sage and rosemary I’d put in.
All in all I’m glad I cooked the turkey. I’d even do it again – though not for a while. J
Thank you everyone for joining in my turkey journey. I hope you all have a lovely dinner and holiday as well.