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Old 11-24-2005, 06:03 AM   #1
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Location: In Connecticut, on the Housatonic River near its mouth at Long Island Sound.
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Default Happy (American) Thanksgiving

We are staying home, just the two of us. Since I spent yesterday having another dental implant (4 hours this time!), I am thankful to stay home, especially since the weather is kind of iffy.

We found an 11-lb free-range turkey, which I will roast unstuffed at high heat (450° F). The technique works really well with chickens, and I hope it works for this big bird as well.

Just learned a neat trick: do not tie up the legs, and cook the turkey with the drumsticks facing the back of the oven, which is hotter. That way the dark meat should be done before the breasts are overcooked. We shall see.

I have tried every trick in the book over the years — cooking it upside-down or turning it over every little while. Butterflying it (one thing with a chicken, quite another with turkey — had to get out a saw for the back!) Having the butcher cut it into pieces, which is really fast and works fine but makes for a disappointing presentation. The advantage of this high-heat process is that it requires very little wrestling with the bird, hot or cold; and it cooks pretty fast that way (especially when unstuffed).

I used to baste or do what my mother always did (place oiled cheesecloth over the breasts), but no longer bother. One year I tried rubbing seasonsed butter around just under the skin — ick! I have never tried to brine a turkey (but do salt the skin all over, which has a somewhat similar effect, not sure why). And did not succumb to the craze for deep-frying, either.

I will make stuffing, in a casserole (stealing some of the turkey drippings to make it taste more authentic). If I get my act together to make turkey stock this morning, even a good gravy. And braised carrots. And maybe a light salad of belgian endive and raddicchio in a vinaigrette.

That’s it. Quite enough to wear me out, and more food than we can possibly eat in a week! (A friend is passing through tomorrow, on her way home from visiting relatives — I hope to persuade her to take some of the turkey.)

Anyway, hope you all have a wonderful day. No strife, good company, food that satisfies the occasion, a nice glass of wine. And, if you have the urge, even a football game or two.

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