Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy Not Yet Thanksgiving!

My husband is head-over-heels for a full bore turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  Thankfully, so am I, because this meal is definitely time-consuming.  Once fall hits, it's hard not to make a big special meal outside of the holiday celebrations.  I have a big family, and my aunts and grandmothers are often the ones preparing the special dinners.  With the use of bone-in turkey pieces, however, I can make a real turkey dinner for just the three of us.

The technique I use for turkey was featured on America's Test Kitchen.  Go on over there and git yerself a membership.  It's well worth it!

The turkey preparation basically involves slow roasting a bone-in breast (plus thighs and drumsticks, for a larger crowd) on a rack over chopped veggies, herbs, and broth, followed by a resting period and then broiling for crispy skin.  The turkey-and-veggie infused broth from the roasting pan is then turned into the most singularly delicious gravy I've ever made.

On the side, I made some mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream, steamed green beans, and cornbread dressing.  I also opened a can of jellied cranberry sauce, a great pantry stand-by if you aren't in the mood to make your own.

My cornbread dressing is the same that my late stepmother used to make, and it's not so much a recipe as it is a method.  It's easy, delicious, and makes great leftovers.

Cornbread Dressing
Serves 8

2 boxes Jiffy cornbread mix, prepared according to package directions, baked, and cooled (You can do this the night before and let it sit, covered, on the counter.)
1 lb. pork sausage, regular or sage flavored
1 cup white onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
2-3 cups chicken broth
Garlic powder or granules
Poultry seasoning

Crumble the cooled cornbread into a large mixing bowl and break it up with your hands.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high, add the sausage, and cook until nearly browned through, breaking up pieces with a wooden spoon.  Add the diced onions and celery to the sausage.  Sprinkle on some garlic powder and poultry seasoning and stir well.  Add about a cup and a half of chicken broth and bring to a simmer.  Cook until the onions become translucent.  Taste and adjust seasoning with more garlic and poultry seasoning if needed.  Transfer the sausage mixture to the bowl with the cornbread and mix with a wooden spoon until moistened.  Add more broth as needed until the mixture is completely moistened and sticky.

Transfer to a 9" square baking dish, spreading with a spatula to level.  Bake, covered with foil, in a preheated 400º oven for about 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 20-30 minutes until the edges are browned.  Serve.

Turkey breast basted with melted butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Roasting pan of vegetables, herbs, and broth.

The turkey roasts skin-down for the first hour, then is flipped over until done.

Carving the boid.

I suck at making pretty pie edges, so I rolled the excess dough and used tiny cookie cutters to make the border.

I adhered the leaf shapes with a little water.

See?  Purty!

Whipped cream beaten into submission.



1 comment:

Shelley Parker Chandler said...

What? No pumpkin pie recipe? It looked great, BTW. :)

Word verification - ovenes = how many ovens I would need to pull this dinner off with all items done at just the right time. ;)