Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Late Thanksgiving Post and a Golden Wing

This year we had intended to go out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday, but thanks to two back-to-back colds we were feeling under the weather and decided to stay in.  Since it was just the three of us this year, I decided to make the simplest of meals.  Surprisingly, the consensus we came to was that it was the best Thanksgiving meal I've ever made.  I didn't over-do the sides and I kept the ingredient list quite minimal.  In addition, I decided to break down the turkey before roasting and this cut down the cooking time considerably.  It also allowed all of the pieces to have a nice golden brown skin without being over-cooked. If you can get passed not having the wow-factor of having a whole roasted turkey, this method is definitely worth trying, and MUCH easier to brine too.  It yields a great tasting turkey in much less time and much less effort.  I don't think I will go back to roasting the turkey whole again!  Aside from the turkey, I made the easiest roasted potatoes, whipped sweet potatoes with orange and garlicky asparagus.  For dessert I made a pear and cranberry crisp. All of the recipes were relatively easy and I wasn't slaving away all day at the stove.

This wing was so crunchy and golden! You need this wing in your life!
For the brine:
1/3 cup salt
3 tbsp. maple syrup
1 gallon filtered water, cold
3 tbsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Mix all of the ingredients well and place the turkey in a large container with a lid for 8 hours.  I placed the turkey pieces in two large Tupperware containers.  Before roasting, rinse the turkey pieces before seasoning.

For the turkey
1 12-15 lb. turkey
4 tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
12 garlic cloves, minced or grated (I put mine through a mini food processor)
1 lemon, juiced
2 limes, juiced
1 grapefruit, juiced
1 stick butter
1/2 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. Place the turkey pieces in a roasting pan with a rack.  Line the pieces on the roasting rack and allow the turkey to come to room temperature while you make the seasoning.    In a food processor, add the garlic, butter, mayo, citrus juices, and a little salt.  Blend until all of the ingredients are incorporated well and the butter is nice and smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and add in the chopped rosemary.  Begin slathering this mixture on the turkey.  Making sure to get under the skin where possible too and reserving about a third of the mixture to baste halfway through.  Add some salt and freshly grated pepper to the pieces and place in the oven.  The turkey took about one hour and 45 minutes for a 13 lb. turkey.  About halfway through the roasting process, you'll want to take the pan out and add some more of the basting butter.  Once the turkey is cooked, remove from the oven and tent aluminum foil over the pan to keep it warm.  Let the turkey rest at least 30 minutes before slicing.

For the potatoes:
1 bag Yukon gold or small red skinned potatoes
2 tbsp. salt (sounds like a lot but you are adding it to the water while you boil)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
Garlic salt to taste

First wash the potatoes, leaving the skin on.  Since these potatoes are relatively small, you should quarter them and then cut each of the quarters in half, lengthwise to create spear-like shapes.  Add the cut potatoes to a pot of cold water and add the salt.  Cook until the potatoes are tender but not falling apart.  drain well.  Next add parchment paper to a baking sheet and place the potatoes on top.  Drizzle the olive oil and season with the garlic salt, making sure to toss the potatoes lightly to coat them evenly.  Roast for about 25 minutes or until the potatoes are getting golden brown.  Remove from the oven and squeeze the lemon juice over them.  Place them back in the oven for about another 5-10 minutes.  You'll want the potatoes to be golden brown and crispy.

For the Asparagus
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves roughly chopped
Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Place the trimmed asparagus on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Drizzle the olive oil, sprinkle the garlic and season with salt and pepper.  Toss to combine all of the ingredients and roast at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.

I blogged the sweet potato recipe here last year.  The only adjustments I made this year is that I used coconut sugar instead of brown sugar and I squeezed the orange juice instead of using store-bought juice this year.

This is how it all came together on the plate:

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