My nephew, home on-leave from the Marines, and recently back from deployment in Kuwait, will have returned to duty before the Thanksgiving holiday so I decided to host Thanksgiving dinner a little early this year in his honor. Having flown in from Zurich, Switzerland two days prior, I needed to keep things rather simple and, jet-lag notwithstanding, hit the ground running. I ordered a fresh turkey before leaving town and I picked it up on Monday morning. The people at my local market were in a celebratory mood, congratulating me on purchasing the first Thanksgiving turkey of the season.
The dry-brined, Citrus-Herb Roast Turkey from Fine Cooking’s Oct/Nov ’15 issue looked good and it was way more than good. I started the turkey roasting upside down so that the breast would not dry out and turned it right-side up after an hour. It was one of my best turkeys yet.
I prepared Turkey Stock before my departure using a recipe from Epicurious (originally attributed to Gourmet Magazine). The recipe makes 13 cups of stock but I further reduced it to 9 cups and froze it in two 4 ½ cup containers. The Rich and Silky Turkey Gravy recipe from Bon Appetit uses 4 cups of stock to which I added the optional powdered mushrooms (dried Porcinis ground in a coffee or herb grinder), and Madeira. This may have been the hit of the evening.
The side dishes were Mom’s “party” potatoes: mashed russets with generous amounts of sour cream, cream cheese, butter, and a little garlic salt – sinful and delicious. The Haricots Verts with Cream, Mushrooms and Bacon from Fine Cooking’s Oct/Nov ’15 issue (I cut the recipe in half) replaced the over-used beans and mushroom soup mixture. The de rigueur stuffing, Cranberry Chutney, Applesauce For Grownups, and Dill Bread rounded out the menu. My brother-in-law brought the yummy pecan and pumpkin pies, topped off with a little whipped cream.
We had a terrific feast and my nephew went away stuffed, as was his well-earned right.