In My Kitchen: The Thanksgiving Turkey

by in Thanksgiving, November 20, 2009

I used to panic about my how to prepare my turkey. After a few years of trying fancy stuffings, toppings and glazes, I finally figured out that simple is best. Here’s how I prepare our Thanksgiving centerpiece year after year — plus, my simple baste recipe.

Choosing the Turkey
Each Thanksgiving, I usually cook for about 12 (hungry) people so a 14 to 16 pound bird does the trick. Along with all the side dishes and appetizers, this makes plenty for everyone (with leftovers). I used to think that bigger was better and once made the mistake of getting a 20-pounder. It was way too big for my oven and took forever to cook — turkey overload!

When picking out the bird, I turn to a local farm. These turkeys do tend to be a little more expensive (another reason to get a smaller bird), but the taste is amazing and we’re supporting a local business. Visit LocalHarvest.org to find a turkey farm near you.

Stuffed?
I’m not a fan of cooking bread stuffings inside my turkey. Instead, I fill it with aromatics such as garlic, onion, celery, lemon and a bunch of fresh herbs (usually sage, rosemary and thyme). And don’t forget to season the inside with salt and pepper! These flavors will cook down, permeate the meat and help keep the turkey juicy and tender.

Basting
Before the turkey goes in the oven, I top it with a combo of olive oil, a smidge of softened butter, salt and pepper. Then I add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce. As it cooks, I baste the turkey periodically with pan drippings and my special baste (see the recipe below). I place this basting concoction in a squeeze bottle for easy application. This helps keep the meat moist and gives a wonderful flavor to my turkey and gravy.

Dana’s “Drunken” Turkey Baste
1 cup homemade chicken stock
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)

Place ingredients in bowl and stir to combine. Apply to turkey using a baster or transfer to a squeeze bottle.

More posts from .

Similar Posts

Mix-and-Match Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

  Thanksgiving isn’t exactly the time to obsess over calories. That said, if you’re watching what you eat, don’t feel like you have to sit on the culinary sidelines of everyone’s favorite food holiday. This lineup includes healthy options for all of the traditional highlights of the feast: turkey, green vegetable, orange vegetable, stuffing, potatoesRead more

Comments (3)

  1. krikri says:

    Its good you are supporting your local business by buying from them. Its good to try out new things – that's how we get more recipes. Dana’s “Drunken” Turkey Baste is very simple – so simple that it appeals to busy experts and beginners.

  2. julo says:

    Last year we decided to get two smaller turkeys, rather than one big turkey. This allowed us to do two different turkey preparations (one oven roasted, one barbecued). I only have one oven, so oven timing was key (I had lots to bake and roast that day). Having a smaller bird allowed for less cook time and, I think, a juicier bird. Overall a success!

    I like to stuff the bird with aromatics and citrus. And I baste with a citrus jam combo. It gives a slightly sweet flavor I really enjoy.

  3. Lonni McDonald says:

    Wow!!
    I love the Drunken turkey baste!! So easy!!
    I make it a point to start my day by checking out Dana's new recipes,and following her excellent nutritional advice!
    My family, and I are big fans!!
    Thanks Dana!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>