This is your checklist if you are having family and friends over for a Thanksgiving meal:
l If you are roasting a frozen turkey, you should have bought it a few days ago and left it in the refrigerator to thaw. Do not thaw at room temperature on the counter. You are risking getting everyone sick with salmonella if you do.
NO, you cannot roast a frozen turkey. You need to remove the package of gizzards and neck anyway, so no, no and no … you must thaw the turkey. There is no easy way out of this one.
l If you ordered a fresh turkey, you can pick it up tomorrow, brine and have it ready to roast on Thursday morning.
l If you are making cornbread stuffing, bake it today or tomorrow, cut in into cubes and air dry on a counter. If you dry the cornbread it will be less prone to become doughy.
l If you want to do something different and choose not to brine, Thomas Keller of French Laundry in California and Per Se in New York City likes to roast his turkey this way:
Thomas Keller’s Super Moist Turkey
Dry thoroughly inside and out with paper towels:
1 (12-14 pound frozen, Butterball preferred) turkey, neck and giblets removed
Tuck wings under turkey and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack fitted in. Pull legs upward and slide 12-inch skewer under bone of fattest part of drumstick across to other drumstick so skewer connects both and legs cover small point of breast.
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
Rub 2 tablespoons of spice mixture evenly over surface of turkey and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Add to remaining spice mixture:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Whisk to combine. Divide mayonnaise mixture in half.
Adjust oven rack to lowest position, heat oven to 325 degrees. Brush half of mayonnaise mixture evenly over surface of turkey. Place 18-by-18 inch sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil diagonally over breast, tucking point of foil inside cavity and over tops of legs. Transfer turkey to oven and pour into bottom of baking sheet:
1 cup water
Roast until thighs and drumsticks register 165 degrees, 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Remove turkey from oven and increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.
While turkey is in the oven, melt in large saucepan over medium heat:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
Cook until browned. Stir in:
6 tablespoon flour
Stir flour into mixture, then slowly (this part is crucial. Mix or you may have lumps. Add:
2 cups water
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
Bring to simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. The gravy will be thick, but be patient.
Once oven has come to 450 degrees, remove foil and brush remaining half of mayonnaise mixture evenly over turkey. Return turkey to oven and roast until breasts register 160 degrees and thighs and drumsticks register 175 degrees, about 25 to 35 minutes. Tip juices from turkey cavity into baking sheet and transfer turkey to carving board. Let rest, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Remove wire rack from baking sheet. Add to baking sheet:
1 1/2 cups water
With a spatula of wooden spoon, scrape up all browned bits. Carefully pour pan juices into fat separator and let sit for 5 minutes. Pour defatted pan juices into gravy and bring to simmer over medium heat. Simmer until gravy is thickened and reduced to 3 cups, 15 minutes. Strain gravy through fine-sieve mesh strainer into clean saucepan, discard solids.
Rewarm gravy gently over medium low heat. Season with salt and pepper. Carve turkey and serve with gravy.
If you like the sweet-sour, exotic flavors of mango chutney, make the cranberry chutney for your thanksgiving table.
Makes 2 cups
Combine in medium pan:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch red pepper flakes, to taste
Cook until shallots softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in:
1 package (12 ounce) fresh or frozen cranberries
6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
Continue cooking until cranberries pop and soften, stirring occasionally. Serve with craved turkey.
After Thursday, you hopefully have leftover turkey and cranberry sauce or chutney.
Get some sourdough loaf bread and slices of Swiss cheese and using a panini grill, you can make a wonderful sandwich!
If you want to order dinner rolls or pumpkin pies from the students at Hawaii Community College, pre-orders are being taken at 934-2559, with pick up on Wednesday from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
The staff and students will be at the kitchen baking from 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday to be sure the rolls and pies will be fresh and still delicious for your Thursday Thanksgiving meal.