Sunday Dinner – Fakesgiving Turkey


Jess here, Happy Sunday!

Today I wanted to share saga of this year’s turkey.

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I picked our bird up from the truck at the farm stand on Wednesday.

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Turkey number 144, all 23.4 pounds of him, of which I am most grateful and fortunate to be able to enjoy with my family and friends.

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I love brining my turkey for at least 24 hours before cooking it.  It ensures a moist bird every time.  The brine I use is adapted from Martha Stewart’s “Perfect Roast Turkey“.  I start with 10 cups of water, 3 cups of kosher salt, 5 cups of sugar, 2 bay leaves, a tablespoon of peppercorns and 10 cups of water.  For veggies, I cleaned and coarsely chopped 2 medium onions, the green parts from a leek or two, a couple of carrots (the ones full of flavor but starting to lose their crisp in my root cellar box).  Sage rosemary and thyme were the herbs represented in the brine.  I brought the mixture to a boil to dissolve the salt and sugar, and then let it cool completely.  (If you’re in a rush for this part, you can add 5 cups of water to start and then 5 cups of ice water during the cool-down time).

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Next, I remove the giblets from the turkey and drain any juices from the turkey bag.  I add the brine into the bag with the turkey (breast side down) and put the whole thing into a stockpot for support.  The turkey usually stays in the brine on our cold porch for a day, but this year the temperature was in the 40s and hence not cold enough, so into the fridge it went.  

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Fakes giving (Saturday) morning, I pulled the turkey out of the brine, rinsed it and patted it dry. Martha suggests to drape a cheesecloth over the bird, which I did here.  The cheesecloth holds the butter mixture and crisps up the skin in a great way.  

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Number 144 sat out for 2 hours before I dressed him with stuffing, tied the legs and draped the cloth.  Next, the rosemary butter and wine mixture (1:1 ratio) went on to the turkey, brushed right onto the cheesecloth.

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The rest is just patience and perseverance.  The turkey goes for 30 minutes at 425, then down to 350 for the rest of the time.  Every 30 minutes I’d baste the turkey and turn the pan in the oven.  After about 3 hours I removed the cheesecloth and continued to baste, turn and bake until the turkey registered 165 degrees at the thickest part of the thigh.  

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The meat was moist, the skin was crisp, flavorful and delicious.  If you don’t like the little blackened singe on the skin, you can remove then replace the cheesecloth with a loose drape of aluminum foil, as that will help keep the turkey skin from blackening as much.  

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What a special star of the dinner table we had going!  If you enjoyed a Springdell turkey this holiday, I’d love to hear how you prepared it, please feel free to comment below!  

Lots more fixins’ to share about from this holiday meal, stay tuned for more!


About Jess

Jess Anderson is the creator of CSA|365 and is passionate about the local food movement. A busy mother of two, Jess loves keeping her family fed by honest local food. She is involved with the Westford Community Garden Working Group, Friends of Fat Moon, and is the current chair of the Westford Strawberries 'N Arts Festival.

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