Well, about 22 hours and counting until we eat Thanksgiving dinner. To lessen the load tomorrow, I’m going to do a bit of prep work tonight.
First, the controversy – to brine or not to brine? I cooked turkeys for many many years (stuffed, even!) without brine and they came out moist, juicy and flavorful. I brined last year, and it was probably what saved the turkey (20-pounder with an extra large cavity, it took 10 hours for the stuffing to come up to temperature!). This year, we’re using a conventional 12-pounder very similar to what I’ve made in years past. There are tons of people who swear by it; it was interesting to see that there are some chefs that are against it. I do know that last year’s bird was a bit salty, and that the gravy we made from it’s drippings was god awful. I think I’m going to pass on the brining. Since I should be avoiding sugar and extra salt anyway, it’s probably for the best. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
I’m also going to prep the candied yams tonight, so I just need to throw them in the oven tomorrow. Ditto with the stuffing – I’m going to make most of it (tear the bread, chop the onions and celery, melt the butter and mix it in, so that all I have to do tomorrow is add the turkey broth and seasonings before I stuff the bird. If I have extra time tonight, I’m going to make a batch of Meyer Lemon Bars to use those lovely Meyer Lemons I got at Jungle Jim’s yesterday.
So here’s the tentative schedule:
9pm: prepare candied yams and refrigerate
9:30: prepare stuffing (except for broth and seasonings)
10: Lemon bars?
9a: Finish preparing stuffing, throw spare parts into a pot w/ water to make broth to baste bird with, stuff and truss bird, season and rub down with compound butter. Throw canberry sauce into the fridge.
10a: Put bird in oven, expected to cook @ 325 for 3 to 3 1/2 hrs.
1p – 1:30ish: Take turkey out of oven, put in candied yams
1:30-2: When candied yams are done, put in crescent rolls, heat up mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.
So, hopefully we’ll sit down to eat at 2. This is so much less than I cook in other years, but I still have to gear myself up mentally to do it. I hate to say it, but I’m so glad it’s just us two this year. Low-pressure, and I may actually get to enjoy the holiday for once.
So the rest of you, how far along are you in your Thanksgiving preparations? Are you ready for tomorrow?