Long story, shortened: I had invited people to a traditional turkey dinner a few days before Thanksgiving but I ran out of time and had to postpone. I reset the date to December 20. Upon consideration I decided that these particular guests would prefer a rib eye roast over another turkey dinner, so the belated turkey menu was served at Christmas.
December 20 – One of my guests, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, brought the dessert pictured above, a chocolate and peppermint cake with chocolate ganache between the layers. It was sensational. For hors d’oeuvres I made a nice Chicken Liver Pâte and Cured Arctic Char served on lefse. The starter was a dungeness crab salad served in individual sorbet glasses. The main course was a rib eye roast, slow roasted, and seasoned with fresh horseradish, garlic, and parsley. This was accompanied by little individual Potatoes Anna, sautéed green beans, Cranberry Relish, and Dill Casserole Bread. Dessert was the awesome chocolate and peppermint cake that was the hit of the evening.
December 25 – The turkey dinner finally gets prepared and was enjoyed by all.
The photo above says it all. It was fun putting Christmas dinner together and even more fun consuming it. My family and I had a wonderful afternoon and evening conversing, reminiscing, and growing drowsy together after all of that turkey.
My favorite part of the meal was the Heritage turkey. For those of us of a certain age, there was a time when turkeys seemed much more flavorful than most of what we find in the stores today. The modern bird is bred to have lots of breast meat but at the cost of flavor, moisture, and pale dark meat. After reading an article on a cooking website I decided to try a heritage turkey – a much older breed that was the bird of choice before the advent of Butterballs and their ilk. The article directs you to rub kosher salt under the skin and in the cavity and then let the bird rest, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 24 – 48 hours. I followed the recipe to the letter. What went to the table was a revelation. This tasted like turkey is supposed to taste. It was juicy, flavorful, tender, with a crispy golden skin. I could not be more pleased with the results. I bought a Mary’s brand, heritage turkey at Whole Foods. This LINK to Mary’s website tells you everything you need to know. Do yourself a favor and try one soon.
The other dish that I really enjoyed was the Sourdough, Sausage, and Chestnut Stuffing from a recipe in bon appétit magazine. With a few less ingredients than my favorite, go-to, stuffing the flavors were delicious and took less time to prepare. I may be a convert.
Then there was the usual buttery mashed potatoes, gravy, creamed corn, cranberry chutney, homemade rolls, and my guests brought a nice salad and the ubiquitous green bean casserole. To finish the meal, I served a pumpkin pie made from fresh puree I made a couple of days before (thank you Susan). It was a very satisfying dinner indeed.