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Thanksgiving and Turkey

2020-11-23

Every year November 23rd is a Japanese national holiday, Labor Day Thanksgiving. This year, my friends and I decided to celebrate American Thanksgiving instead. Because of COVID-19, international travel this summer was a total no-go, and the winter doesn't look so hot either, we were quite excited to have a get-together. A potluck celebration at Jimmy's place, marvelous.

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I have an oven, Julie's old oven, and it's big enough to cook a turkey. So I ordered a turkey from the Meat Guy. Here's how I cooked it. This is a variant of a recipe from Food Network Magazine.

Start with a frozen turkey. Defrost the turkey in the microwave at 150 W, 6 minutes per pound, rotating occasionally. (It is recommended to purchase the turkey several days in advance and thaw it in your refrigerator instead.)

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Place the oven rack in the lowest location. Lightly oil a 12" cast iron frying pan. Pat the turkey very dry with paper towels. Rub inside and out with salt and pepper. Dice the onion, carrot, and celery, and stuff into the cavity.

Melt the butter in a small frying pan. Mix in the paprika, sage, and thyme. Put the turkey in the frying pan. Butter the turkey. Roast for 1 hour. After 1 hour, baste the turkey with drippings. Continue roasting for 1-2 more hours, basting every 30 minutes, until the skin is golden brown. Use a meat thermometer to measure breast temperature, and stop roasting when it reaches 74°C (165°F). Wait 30 minutes before carving.

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After the turkey is in the oven, start making the gravy. This is a variant of a recipe by Slowturtle.

Dice the onion and celery. Put the broth, onion, celery, giblets, salt, and pepper in a pot. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. When the turkey is nearing completion, strain the broth. Heat the broth in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the turkey drippings and flour. Cook and stir for around 20 minutes. Use a blender to smooth the gravy out.