[30 Day Challenge] Turkey Lurkey, I Love You

Random Observation/Comment #388: I love the feeling of hosting a fun party where people loved the food and ended the night fully satisfied. I just wish there were less dishes to do.

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Recipe: Making Turkey Lurkey, Gravy, and Stuffing

DSC_0900 The recipe I used for the turkey was the one I saw on Gordon Ramsey’s show.  I had a few months this year where I spent every day going through his ultimate cooking course on youtube, where I learned to add lemon zest to everything and speak with a British accent and say “mmm.. beautiful” whenever I think I’m doing something right.  This time, I put the recipe together exactly as listed except I added some stuffing to fill the rest of the turkey to keep the cut onion and garlic from coming out.

The stuffing was made from butter, chopped onions, diced celery, a bag of stuffing mix, and 3 1/3 cups of water.  I decided to use the stuffing mix because I totally forgot to buy bread ahead of time and make it stale.  I added more salt, garlic, and fresh pepper for seasoning and stuffed everything into the turkey. The gravy I made followed what my brother did earlier in the week. He minced all the giblets and random stuff included with the raw turkey and then heated it up on low heat. Once cooked, he added some gravy mix. I added some of the bottom juices from the turkey as it sat the 45 minutes for cooling.

As for timing, it took about 1.5 hours to prepare the turkey, 15 minutes in 410 degrees F heat, 2.5 hours in 355 degrees F heat with basting, and 45 minutes to sit and have the juices sink in. I started making gravy, extra stuffing, and mashed potatoes after the turkey was finished.

Lessons Learned:

  •  The parsley, garlic, lemon butter is the most amazing thing ever. I love the combination of flavors and I actually used the leftovers of this mixture for my mashed potatoes. It was brilliant.
  • When the recipe says cover the turkey with butter, really spend the extra 5 minutes slathering it on thick. I loosened all of the skin and stuck little pieces of butter wherever I could.
  • Season generously. It’s always good to have extra parsley. I think the extra green color makes the whole thing look more healthy
  • Definitely cover the top with bacon. Holy crap, that was the best idea ever and I’m so glad I did it. The bacon that comes from those 3 hours of baking is amazing. I wish I put more around the legs and in every other area possible. I think I just like bacon.
  • Add another half of garlic into the center of the turkey. I think it adds the extra flavor to the juices and gravy
  • Basting is a must! Invest in the baster so you don’t need to do what I did (which involved moving the turkey out of the pot and pouring out the juices, so I could move the turkey back in and pour the juices over it)
  • Definitely let the turkey sit the whole time. It may get slightly cold, but the hotter gravy will heat it up and cold turkey is freaking awesome. The extra time sitting will have it stay moist.
  • Don’t get a turkey that’s too big or else it won’t cook as evenly. I had a 12lbs turkey and I thought that was perfect in size for 9 people.
  • Always have extra stuffing. That stuff is amazing.

Final Thoughts:

DSC_0967I was pleasantly surprised at how moist this turkey recipe came out. I think the one I made last year was dry and terrible in comparison. It must have been those 3 sticks of butter I jammed into the inside of the turkey and constant basting that kept it all moist and buttery the whole time. Moral of the story – fat makes everything taste better.

Secondly, the timing around the preparation of the turkey dinner is as important as the skill of cooking the meal. It’s extremely important to prepare in an order where all the food stays warm. I would definitely do the gravy last and keep it piping hot since it is the main source of heat to warm up the turkey and mashed potatoes.

Lastly, proportioning when cooking for family and friends on Thanksgiving is never an issue. It’s a given that there will be leftovers and that those leftovers will be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next week. Remember to check that you have Tupperware to store all this food and room in the fridge before you start making more than you can handle.  Side note: There’s never more mashed potatoes than I can handle.

What a wonderful series of Turkey day dinners. Happy Thanksgivikah!

~See Lemons Eat all the Turkey

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