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Cook my first turkey for 10 people? Sure, why not?!

Posted Nov 09 2011 4:08pm

I really need to be better about documenting my cooking adventures for you all–I’ve spent a prodigious amount of my free time these past few months (well, what little free time I’ve managed to snatch) playing around in the kitchen. Sometimes the results are great, sometimes they’re disappointing, but luckily I haven’t had anything truly inedible or gross come out of there…yet.

So, no time like Thanksgiving to put my fledgling skills to the test, eh? Several friends and I are getting together for Turkey Day, and I’ve been elected to roast the bird. My new subscriptions to Bon Appetit and Food and Wine will surely come in handy, but the recipes in there are a bit gourmet for their tastes, methinks. (Tandoori-Spiced Turkey! Lager Gravy! Kimchi-Creamed Collard Greens!) I’m planning to keep it simple and will probably follow this basic TLC recipe, with a few tiny additions:

I am, however, also planning to make this stuffing recipe: Sourdough Stuffing with Granny Apples and Bacon . I tested it out last week, and believe you me, it was deeeelicious. I followed this recipe pretty much to a T; it takes about 2 hours from start to finish, but it’s not difficult in the slightest. My modifications and notes, below!

  • 1 loaf sourdough bread, cubed
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 2 cups celery, chopped
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced (The leeks aren’t necessary, but are a nice addition)
  • 2 large granny smith apples, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage; or 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme; or 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1 lb bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces
  • 3 -4 cups chicken broth or 3 -4 cups stock
  • salt

Directions :

1: PREP
Do what the French call “mise en place.” Spend 20-30 minutes beforehand making sure you have all the ingredients, chopping everything up, and putting it in bowls, on boards, etc. This makes the actual cooking process so much faster, especially if you like to zone out and cook leisurely, like I do. Don’t forget to make and chop the bacon! (And, obviously, have a glass of wine on hand while you’re doing everything.)

2: MAKE BREAD CUBES
Slice sourdough into cubes, then toast for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees on a rimmed baking sheet. This’ll dry it up and make it all crusty. (You can also dry out bread for a couple days beforehand.) Either way, take the time to make the fresh bread crumbs. It’s super easy and it tastes so much better than store bought! Plus–and let’s be real–it totally sounds more impressive.

3: COOK THE ONIONS/APPLES/HERBS
Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes. You want the onions/celery soft but not browned. Next, add the chopped apples and leeks, cooking for about 3 more minutes. Add the sage, thyme and poultry seasoning, as well as about half a cup of chicken stock, stir and cook for another minute, then take off the heat.

4: MIX THE BREAD CUBES AND ONIONS/APPLES/HERBS
In a large mixing bowl, mix together and toss the onions/apples/herbs with the chopped bacon and the bread cubes. Slowly add the rest of the chicken stock, stirring all the while so it doesn’t get too soggy.

5: BAKE
Pour the stuffing mixture into a butter-greased casserole dish, cover with foil, and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 more minutes to get it crusty and golden brown.

Yummy, no? Hmm, I’m hungry now!

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