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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Turkey dinner for my French visitor...

So, this week I have a darling girl from France staying with us through an exchange program.  I have thought long and hard about what to cook for her.  When I heard one of their excursions was to Plymouth Plantation, I decided she needed to experience a true Thanksgiving dinner, so I cooked a turkey with all the fixins'... was she in for a treat!

First off, I brine my bird for about 24 hours.  After heating up the oven, I seasoned the outside with paprika, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.  I added a touch of oil afterwards, just to keep the skin moist.

The trick to having a really moist turkey is to cook it breast-side down for the first 2-3 hours.  I take the bird out, flip it over, and return to the oven for the last hour or so.  Cooking it this way causes the breast meat to be so juicy, which is why it's worth the trouble it is to turn it over!
While the bird is cooking, it's time to get the butternut squash ready to roast.  Once you have it cut, skinned, and ready to go, season it with some salt, pepper, and some cinnamon.  Toss with some olive oil and roast in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, stirring every so often so that everything gets browned evenly.

Every one in my family loves roasted brussel sprouts, and even though I have prepared them for you before, I will quickly tell you again.  Cut them in half and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Pop them in a 400 degree oven and roast for about 20-30 minutes.  Again, you need to stir them around every so often.  When they seem tender and slightly browned, they are done.  Just before serving, sprinkle with some shredded Parmesan cheese.

Now for the stuffing.  For a quick fix, I use Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix.  Once it is made, add some sauteed onion, celery, and a handful of fresh chopped parsley. Taste and adjust any seasonings you think it needs.  Spoon into a baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.   

Last but not least, gravy.  You all know how to make this..... use the drippings from the roasting pan, add 2-3 tablespoons of flour and combine so that it looks like a paste.  Add chicken broth, probably 2-3 cups, and stir until it gets to the right consistency.  Turn the heat down and season with a little salt and pepper (and , if you have it, a few drops of GravyMaster for any of you who remember this little bottle that sees the light of day once a year!)

So there you have it.  A little cranberry sauce and you're good to go.   A very quick, matter-of-fact turkey dinner!  At least it gave our guest a taste of what we eat every November....

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