Thursday, November 13, 2014

Day-by-Day Thanksgiving Tutorial- Plus the Perfect Turkey Recipe!

Today's Woman Now

Reminders are always nice, so this Thanksgiving, stay organized with our What to Do When Timeline if you're hosting the turkey this year!

What to Do When

2-3 Weeks in Advance
  • Prepare and freeze pie crust(s) - Form into discs, wrap individually, and place in a freezer bag and store in the freezer.
  • Roast Butternut Squash - Roast for soup, place in freezer bag and store in freezer.
  • Stuffing: Mix meat, herbs, and bread, store unbaked in the freezer
  • Baked Rolls: Place in freezer bags, remove all air and store in freezer.
  • Cookies: Make and bake ahead and store in airtight container in freezer.

1 ½ Week in Advance
  • Shop for all nonperishable goods

5 Days in Advance
  • Shop for remaining items and perishable goods
  • Make Cranberry Relish - store covered in the refrigerator
  • Thaw Turkey (in refrigerator)
  • Crush cookies for Chocolate Mousse Cake – store in airtight container

2 Days in Advance
  • Make Chocolate Mousse Cake - store in the refrigerator

1 Day in Advance
  • Thaw all food that you froze ahead in refrigerator
  • Peel and chunk potatoes and store in water in refrigerator (both white and sweet potatoes)
  • Brine turkey

A Perfect Turkey Recipe
We asked Mary Wheatley, owner of Cook with Mary, about the best way to prepare a juicy turkey. This recipe is for a 16-pound turkey.

Prepare the Turkey
Thaw turkey in the refrigerator (takes approximately 3 days). Sanitize the kitchen sink by scrubbing it with detergent and a scouring pad. Rinse thoroughly. Rinse the turkey under cold water, removing the packets in both cavities.

Prepare the Brine
Add 12 cups water, 3 cups kosher salt, 1½ cup sugar, ¼ cup black pepper and bring to a boil. Add in 3-4 Tbls of loose tea (optional) and steep for 30 minutes. Add about 12 cups of ice to chill the brine to less than 40°.

Lower in the 16-pound turkey and chill for 8-24 hours. Drain and discard the brine. If you are not going to roast the turkey immediately, return the prepared bird back in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake. Thoroughly wash hands and re-sanitize the sink.

Roast the Turkey
Pat the turkey dry and quarter a large apple, a large onion, and cut 3-4 ribs of celery into 3-4” lengths. Stuff these items into a large cavity along with a handful of fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and sage. Rub the outside of the bird with butter or olive oil and apply liberal salt and pepper.

Place the turkey breast side down on a bed of vegetables and herbs, such as celery and an assortment of fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, etc.) for the first half of the roasting process. Remove the turkey from the oven and turn the turkey over. Salt the top and place back in the oven. Starting with the turkey breast-side down it super juicy and tender.

Bake at 350 degrees. When the turkey is done, the internal temperature should register 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer, and the juices should run clear. Check the temperature in several places. Don’t overbake.

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