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Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy Friendsgiving (Overnight) Turkey Recipe

Oh snap... Thanksgiving is next week kids. 

My favorite part of this holiday are the gratitude (of course), wine (obviously) and the side dishes (mmmmmmashed potatoes). My husband's favorite though is the turkey. So much that we even host a Friendsgiving on the first football Sunday of the year, when we Redskins fans are so full of hope once more that we invite friends over to toast the potential together. So just because I don't eat it (I'm a vegetarian though I don't want you to judge me; I love meat eaters, I just don't love meat) doesn't mean I won't make it. It is an act of true love (take that Anna and Elsa).  And I feel that if you are going to do it, you might as well do it right. And if you are doing it right, you might as well do it simply and let the oven do all most of the work. Brace yourself, because this bird cooks all night baby. You just pour yourself a glass of bubbly and soak in the compliments- a win for team simplify! 

Friendsgiving Overnight Turkey (yes you read that right)

The Players

2 Tbsp. fresh sage
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
Kosher salt (between 1/4 and 1/2 cup; depending on the size of your bird)
16-24 lb. Turkey (fresh or thoroughly thawed; don't forget to take out the giblets; it's always awkward when you, okay, I forget)
2 sticks of softened butter (it's Thanksgiving loves, we have to live a little)
2 onions, quartered
1/2 lemon
1 cup of baby carrots or sliced whole carrots
4 garlic cloves
Greek or poultry seasoning
Quart of vegetable or chicken broth

I apologize in advance because there is a little math involved in this recipe. But the kids watching you do this will be thoroughly impressed to see you use math in a real life critical situation. Please read the recipe in it's entirety so you can do all of your calculations before you begin, you math wizard you. These are the quick highlights of your math: 24 hours to dry brine (in fridge), 24 hours to be uncovered (also in fridge), 30 minutes to rest, 30 minutes at 475 degrees and an hour per pound to cook at 185 degrees and a brief resting period before carving. This is where a 24-lb. turkey proves to be the best choice because of the math factor- just over 24 hours of cooking time and pouf! You've got yourself a perfect bird. So calculate the time that you want to serve dinner and just work backwards. So with that size bird (24 lbs.), if I want us to eat at 2 p.m. the following day, I'm going to pull the brined turkey out of the refrigerator at 1 p.m. so it can rest for 30 minutes while the oven preheats and the slow cooking can begin. It's also a very forgiving recipe; it is okay if your math is off (mine always is); up the temp in the morning if you need it done faster and lower it if you need to slow it down. Don't give up on it before you begin- it is the best ever and you don't have to constantly baste the beast either so you can focus on the happy of the holiday...

The Game

So we need to start the seasoning of this bad boy 48 hours in advance (I know... but it's worth it). We are going to dry brine it which is fancy chef talk for seasoning it for a good long ass time. Mix the herbs and oil in a small bowl. Loosen the skin around the shoulders of the bird and around the cavity. Slide your hands underneath the skin to loosen it from the breast, thighs and drumsticks. Rub the herb mixture on the meat, under the skin. Don't be shy. Get in there like the future of Thanksgiving itself depends on this rubdown. Pat the skin back into place. Oh yeah baby.

Rub the salt inside the cavity and on the skin. Put the turkey in a large food-safe plastic bag (like one of those lovely turkey size roasting bags) and tie. Put the bag inside a second bag and tie. Because this is really not the time that you want leakage (not there is really ever a time that you want that). Place it breast side down and refrigerate it for 24 hours (you can even do it longer if you're a fancy one). After 24 hours, flip it to breast side up, remove the bags and uncover it for 24 hours; this allows for the skin to dry and I am told it will also result in pure deliciousness.

When it is go time (i.e. the day or night before the big feast) pull out that beautiful bird and let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Patience and wine drinking greatly aid this recipe. Pat the turkey down with dry paper towels inside of the cavity. 

You do not want to stuff this bird with stuffing- it just won't be good (or healthy really) so instead put 4 onion quarters, 1/2 cup of carrots, garlic cloves and lemon inside the cavity. Put the remainder of the carrots and onions at the bottom of the roasting pan with 1 cup of water and put the rack on top. Place the turkey on the rack. Slather 1 stick of butter all over the skin (you are in it to win it). Season with greek (or poultry) seasoning to taste and drizzle with olive oil. Roast the turkey at 475 degrees for 30 minutes, breast side up.

Flip the bird (hee hee) so it is breast side down. There isn't a real lady like way to do this so you just have to get in there like the kick ass cook you are. I know they sell all kinds of turkey gadgets but I prefer to just put plastic grocery bags over my hands and grab that beast and put those breasts where the juices are (hee hee). Pour a quart of vegetable or chicken broth (or even apple cider; whatever you have on hand) over the bottom side that's now facing you. Season this side with greek (or poultry) seasoning and give it a drizzle of olive oil.

Now this is where you really have to use the math. Reduce the oven temperature to 185°F and roast your turkey for at least 1 hour per pound. The 1-hour-per-pound guideline is to ensure that the entire bird gets heated through, but roasting longer will not be a problem. On the morning of the feast, flip the bird back so it is breast side up and once more slather one stick of softened butter on top (your guests will love you) and put back in the oven for the remainder of your cooking calculation until the internal temperature of the bird is, at a minimum, 165 degrees. 

Let the turkey rest for 20-30 minutes (enough time for photo opportunities with the beautiful bird) while you pour yourself more wine. Carve and get ready to enjoy a deliciously satisfying meal with people that you love. 

And to follow it, sorry pumpkin but you'll have to share the stage. This is one of the best desserts ever:

Real Simple Flourless Chocolate Cake (gluten free peeps unite!)
Have your pumpkin but your chocolate too. 

Cheers to you and all that you have to be grateful for...


Forgive me for not actually taking pictures of the Friendsgiving bird. 
But here is my current mantle which puts me in the simplified gratitude spirit.

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