Thanksgiving dinner was delicious this year. It's the first Thanksgiving I've had the pleasure of cooking in some time, and I was actually looking forward to slaving away in the kitchen. I started a couple days early by making the cranberry sauce you see below. This is a recipe I found several years ago on the Epicurious site. I love the combination of tart cranberries, chocolaty dried figs, savory rosemary and sweet port. It's easy to make and it can be done a week ahead and it's so much better than that canned jelly stuff.
On Thanksgiving morning I got up at 6 am and put these beauties together. I'm not good at any type of yeast bread normally, but with some patience and the nice warm fire my husband built these are probably some of the best rolls I've ever made. I found the recipe for these in the November 2008 Sunset magazine. I love when I can make something and pull most of the herbs I need (parsley, chives, and rosemary, the only thing store bought was the dill) right out of my garden.
After I finished the rolls I threw a couple of pies together. I was lazy and used store bought crusts, but I did use fresh pumpkin. My youngest came home with a sugar pumpkin from our local pumpkin patch for Halloween, so I roasted it and pured it the same day I made the cranberry sauce. Then I used a classic pumpkin pie recipe that I found at FabulousFoods.com several years ago. It turned out good enough that my husband even enjoyed it, and he hates pumpkin pie. It was topped with whipping cream (not from a can) of course.
This pie is apple huckleberry pie. The apples came from our tree and the huckleberries were picked next to our property. It was a banner berry year this year. The girls loved this pie.Instead of stuffing our turkey this year, and instead of a traditional dressing I decided to get a little off the wall and make oyster dressing. It made sense to have some type of seafood sense we live within view of the ocean. I found a fantastic Oyster Dressing Recipe in Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisianna Kitchen cookbook. If you ever cook anything out of this cookbook, plan on it being over the top. And don't plan on any type of diet food in this book. It's all about the fat. But man was this dressing good.
Then there was the "smashed" potatoes, that my oldest daughter adapted from the November 2001 Martha Stewarts Living Magazine. This involved steamed celery root and yukon gold potatoes that my daughter insisted on leaving the skins on and instead of running through a food mill or processor she aggressively attacked with my mom's old potato masher. They were lumpy creamy goodness.
Then to my husbands dismay I made these sweetly delicious maple glazed yams with pecan topping from my December 1998 Bon Appetite magazine. He's not one for candied yams, and can't tolerate the ones with marshmallow's on top, so I compromised and topped them with maple syrup and pecans. And he liked them, I heard him mumble so. And because we can't have a meal without some type of green (and orange) vegetables I threw together these steamed green beans and baby carrots and topped them with a tarragon butter.
And now for the piece de resistance...........
Drum roll please..............
First I brined this 12 pound beauty for 24 hours in my own homemade apple juice, which I made from our apples and the leftover peals from all the applesauce and apple chutney I've been making and canning over the past few weeks. The brine also included brown sugar, kosher salt, fresh ginger, bay leaves, cloves, and 3 quartered oranges. Then I handed it over to my husband to smoke on our Webber bar b que. He socked hickory chips in water and placed them on top of mesquite coals and smoked the bird for 3 hours.
I basted this tastiness with olive oil while it was cooking.
Once it reached 175 it was good to go!
I can smell the smoke flavor just looking at this picture.
After 11 hours of straight cooking, finally I get to eat.......
Oh yeah, all of this is topped with my giblit gravy. I made giblit broth the day before, toasted the flour in the morning and whisked that together with the broth and smoky flavored meat juices from the turkey and added back in the chopped giblits. No waste here.
Then it was nap time, even for the dog.