The Reluctant Blogger


Turkey the Zuni way (and the best dressing ever)
November 29, 2009, 4:03 am
Filed under: Holidays

Although I’ve frequently professed a strong dislike of turkey, I decided this would be the year I’d roast my own turkey and decide, once and for all, whether I actually liked it or not (dramatic, much?).  Past Thanksgivings at my house have been non-traditional in an concerted effort to avoid turkey.  (Last year, with only my husband and my brother to cook for I decided on lobster, since I’d recently landed a new job and was feeling flush.)  When it looked like both my family and my in-laws would come to our house for Thanksgiving, I ordered a free-range bird from my favorite butcher and then promptly forgot about Thanksgiving until about a week before the big day, despite my best intentions to do an all-Gourmet Thanksgiving, and despite the fact that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday (work has been crazy busy lately and I guess I just got distracted).

Between the time I ordered the turkey and the day I realized Thanksgiving was fast approaching, my parents and sister cancelled their plans to come over, so our group had shrunk from eight to five, but I already had the turkey reserved so it was too late to change plans.  Since I like to plan ahead, and had failed to do much planning, I decided to roast the turkey the same way I always roast chicken – namely, the Zuni way.  A few minutes of searching for guidelines online led me to the L.A. Times’ guidelines.  My husband picked up the turkey on Monday afternoon.  When I got home from work I washed and dried it, then salted it with Kosher salt (1 Tbsp per 5 lbs, so I used 3 Tbsp for my just-over 15 lb bird) and put it in the fridge breast down. I turned it both Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, then took it out of the fridge about an hour and a half before I wanted to put it in the oven.  I didn’t put any oil or butter on it, didn’t truss it, and didn’t put anything in the cavity, just stuck it in the oven as it was.  I roasted it for 30 minutes, breast up, at 450F and then turned the oven down to 325F.

After just a little over 90 minutes in the oven start to finish, my turkey was done!  I tented it with foil to allow the juices to redistribute while I reclaimed the oven for the rest of dinner, including some Gourmet recipes like these delicious baby brussels sprouts, parmesan pull-aparts (the only disappointment of the night, due to a very crumbly texture), and cranberry relish like my mom always makes.  I also made and canned cranberry jelly over the weekend, and am glad I did. It is really good (further evidence that homemade is ALWAYS better than store bought), and now I have three jars in the pantry! I have a feeling they won’t last long.

So how was it?  Everything was good (though the rolls were a disappointment, even though they had good flavor), but the turkey was incredible – so moist, not overly salty, crispy skin – enough to convert this turkey skeptic into a believer.  At least, a believer in turkey roasted the Zuni way!

The other thing I have to talk about briefly is the dressing.  I didn’t get a very good picture of it because I stopped taking pictures when my in-laws showed up, so this pre-baking picture will have to suffice (I guess I’m not a die-hard blogger yet!), but this is the dressing that will be my go-to anytime I’m making dressing.  Although we’re trying to eat mostly locally, I’m glad I made an exception for this.  So what is it?  It’s the Artichoke Parmesan Sourdough Stuffing from Sunset magazine and it was SO good.  Never one to leave a recipe alone (or to measure if I don’t have to, if we’re being honest) I modified it a little: upped the quantity of celery (love it), used a mix of sourdough, potato-rosemary, and french breads, skipped the poultry seasoning and rosemary, and probably used more parmesan and artichokes than called for since I was just eyeballing it.  Oh, and I used some of the homemade chicken stock that I’d made on Sunday and reduced down for gravy (also very good).  I was blown away by how good this was and was thrilled to have leftovers.  I’ll be a little sad when the last bite is gone (though I have a feeling I’ll be making this again long before next Thanksgiving rolls around!)

All in all, a successful Thanksgiving dinner to celebrate the best holiday of the year.  And I do have so much to be thankful for!

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[…] fine tasting, but dry and crumbly textured roll.  Most recently this was the case with both my Thanksgiving rolls (which I’m convinced I will eventually master because they taste so good) as well as my Christmas […]

Pingback by Cracked Wheat Rolls, Gourmet, February 2009 « The Reluctant Blogger




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