A few days late, the turkey has landed. Living in London means that while all of my friends, relatives, and colleagues in our New York office have Thursday and Friday off work, getting their fill of of food, wine, and perhaps some masochistic Christmas shopping, I have to work. For two days. And then spend my whole Saturday prepping, cooking, and trying to fit a dozen people into my small flat. But again, that's become my tradition and I rather enjoy it. If I can't have my mother's food and my family's table, I will live vicariously, surrounding myself with friends who miss their own families, and try to create -- if not a new family -- then at least a familial spirit. Without, at least, the embarrassing childhood stories.
Therefore I have only just now settled the remains of my feast in the fridge in various tupperware resting places. I'll have Thanksgiving dinner part two tonight, and once I finish the sweet potatoes and stuffing, I'll have turkey in various guises for at least a week. From soup and curry to stock and sandwiches, the turkey is the gift that keeps on giving. I will just try to return some of the extra calories before Christmas...
Best roast turkey.
I am a firm believer in brining one's turkey. I think it ensures you really cannot overcook it, and I have never had a problem making gravy out of the pan drippings. Just rinse off the bird before roasting, and don't add any salt to the gravy.
You can brine the turkey in a large stockpot or dutch oven, in a brining bag, a cooler, or -- like me -- in your dishpan. Just make sure it's kept cold overnight and in a container large enough for the brine to cover the turkey.
Mix in a large pot:
1 1/2 C. salt
2 oranges, halved and the juice squeezed
2 onions, quartered
a few cloves garlic, smashed in skins
2 Tbsp. peppercorns
2 Tbsp. cloves
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
a good squeeze of honey
water to fill the pot (or less, depending on how you're brining)
Bring the water to a warm temperature, enough to get all the aromatics to release their spice and stir to dissolve the salt. Let the mixture cool, then add the brine to the turkey, or the turkey to the pot with the brine. Brine overnight, then take the turkey out from the brine, rinse well, and let sit on the counter to come to room temperature. Roast according to your usual instructions.
Serves as many as you can fit around the table, and then some.