Monday, August 22, 2011

Turkey is not just for special occasions.

Now Roy and I wander around what is called the Four Corners area; basically where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet in some fashion. On our travels we like to try new places to have a meal and I'll write a review about it for my Restaurant Review page on this blog. While we love to try new dishes, we also test the merit of a restaurant by old favorites; in other words, if a restaurant can mess up something simple, then it's not worth the time nor money to go there.

Now I truly enjoy roasted turkey and my fave two ways of having it is either as a turkey club or a hot open face; both sandwiches in case you didn't know. I expect real roasted turkey just like the type you would get when carving up the turkey on Thanksgiving Day (American holiday that occurs in November). What am I getting though? Cold cut style pressed turkey...if I wanted cold cuts, I would have gone to the nearest Subway or purchased the meat from the deli section of the supermarket. I even ask the waiter or waitress, "is it made with real roast turkey or cold cut style turkey?" The response is always "real roasted turkey", but the item in the sandwich is always "cold cut style pressed turkey". So I have asked why and the answer is usually, "there's no call for it, folks are happy with what we serve or we don't have time to always serve the real stuff." Seriously? No call for real roasted turkey...I hate to think what they serve for the holiday itself then.

Sunday I decided to make a roasted turkey; a 12 lb beauty stuffed with our family's handed down through the generations stuffing. First I gave the turkey a bath in cold water making sure to pull out any missed feathers; and seasoned the inside and outside with a liberal amount of fine sea salt. After stuffing the turkey, I trussed it up, so the stuffing would not come out; and coated the skin with a mixture of melted butter and olive oil. Into the roasting pan it went with aluminum foil over top, so it would not brown too quickly and/or burn the skin. The oven setting was 350F and it would take 5 hours to get the turkey and stuffing to the properly cooked temperature and consistency.

The first 3 hours, the turkey was left alone, but then I took off the aluminum foil; gave it another basting of melted butter and olive oil; and left the bird uncovered. I repeated the basting an hour later and by the time the end of the 5th hour, the turkey was beautifully browned.

I served it with homemade mashed potatoes, gravy and mixed vegetables in a butter sauce. No, I was certainly not going the healthy meal route....I wanted a good old fashioned turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

The slices of turkey were so moist, you could see the juices flowing; the stuffing was also moist and so flavorful. Sorry though, I will not be sharing my stuffing recipe; it's a family secret that will be passed onto my son whenever he feels ready to have a turkey dinner of his own making.

Now before I forget, the turkey did come with the neck, heart, liver and kidneys tucked inside. Those were generously given to the garden shed cats, so they didn't have to worry about field mouse or bird hunting for awhile. Lets say that they had a very long and contented sleep in the grass after that meal.

Having a craving for real roasted turkey, don't deny yourself by waiting until Thanksgiving Day.

Mary Cokenour