Don’t get caught up in Turkey Bags and Brines!
I just don’t know how my Mother did it–she was always so calm in the kitchen, and had everything planned out. She was a perfect hostess in my mind, but in reality I know there is NO perfect hostess. Things always happen on Thanksgiving Day – like burning the turkey, candle wax spilling over, red punch on the white table cloth, and possibly grumpy family members arriving at the front door.
Perfect just does not exist. But what matters is our attitude about the imperfect and how we move beyond it with a heart of thanksgiving!
I’ve had several people ask me how I’m cooking a turkey this year. I’ve tried the bag (yummy and moist), I’ve even tried the brine (delicious, but time consuming), so this year I’m going to be cooking my bird the old-fashioned way. A roasted turkey straight in the oven, cooked to a yummy brownness and taste.
I’m not too worried about the method or technique, whether it’s frozen or fresh, moist or dry, the strategy of making it perfect, or even in the visual presentation. I’m really looking forward to the smell, the sounds of laughter from my family, the sight of bodies relaxing and enjoying one another.
The taste will only add to The Day, as all 5 senses kick in, and we give thanks to the One who, in reality, has given us SO much more than we ever deserve.
I always wonder if He created the turkey with Thanksgiving in mind … have you thought about that?
Roasted Turkey with Rosemary
1 whole turkey (thawed)
1 fresh lemon, halved (an orange works, too)
1-2 T. olive oil
Fresh rosemary sprigs (save a few sprigs out for the last hour of cooking)
1 onion cut into wedges
Carrots or celery, 1 cup chopped
Remove the contents of the bird and wash the turkey with cold water. First rub some oil over the turkey, inside and out, and then 1/2 of the freshly squeezed lemon inside and out.
Take salt and pepper and season the inside of the cavity, and then shake some on the outside of the bird. Squeeze juice from the other half of the lemon inside the bird, putting the rind inside the cavity, along with the fresh rosemary sprigs. Add the onion wedges and chopped carrots & celery inside.
Place the turkey on a rack, in your roasting pan. If you have any leftover rosemary, chop and keep for the last hour of roasting. Cover the bird completely with foil, tightening around the edges of your roasting pan. Place the bird in the middle of the oven and roast for several hours. You’ll need to check for the plastic thermometer to pop up, but you’ll also need to figure out how long to cook the bird according to the weight. Always check the directions on the bird, or look in your favorite cookbook, or here is a great turkey time chart.
One hour before the estimated “done” time, remove the foil, rub with more olive oil and add remaining chopped rosemary to the top. Put back into the oven to brown for the final hour.
When the temperature meets your approval, remove the bird from the oven and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes before eating!
Again, cooking the turkey is not about perfection. Keeping Thanksgiving Day easy and fun and enjoyable for all should be at the forefront of every hostess’s mind.
And my advice if you have a beef about someone or something: Keep it to yourself!
Happy turkey cooking. I’d love to hear your simple philosophy that you plan to live by on Thanksgiving Day?
(Top photo: Abby and me 3 years ago!)