We are literally less than a week away from the Thanksgiving, and I am not freaking out at all.
I actually never made a big deal because all we need a bit organization, preparation and maybe your family to help in some areas for one successful Thanksgiving feast.
I said it before that my family has this tradition where everyone in the house makes something for “our table”.
Each year for the last 4 years, Aleks makes this amazing cranberry sauce. I tried and it was not, I repeat, it was not as good as his.
All I know that I cannot enter the kitchen until he is done. He calls it a secret recipe. Anna makes her chocolate cupcakes, and Daniel was their boss. So, this year Anna and Daniel are teaming up, so we will see what they will do in the end.
As of right now, they are just testing recipes. I just love the Thanksgiving atmosphere around my house, probably a week before… We all get into this holiday mood.
SO, LET’S TALK TURKEY!!!
I believe each family goes by their own traditional recipe, probably making how their grand- grandmother made it.
We tend to pick up on those family traditions and that’s alright, it makes us happy this time of the year, especially remembering special moments that we carry for generations.
I found my tradition, here when I came to the USA, in particular when my husband and I got kids.
I didn’t grow up with Thanksgiving dinner tradition, so you see I had to find my own tradition because even if I did not grow up with it, I wanted my kids to grow up and remember all the beautiful things, aromas and memories during Thanksgiving.
I would love if they continue carrying the family tradition that we build from the moment they were born.
When I made Turkey for the first time, it was a literary one big disaster. It was delicious in the end… Well, kind of delicious because we were so hungry waiting for the bird to get cooked.
We got this huge 17-pound turkey, and I’ve half defrosted, but it was still pretty much frozen. The bird cooked and cooked and cooked… I set on the floor near the stove, with my little 11-month old boy crawling around me waiting for that thermometer to finally pop up.
It cooked for 9 full hours, and that thing never went out. I pulled it out of the oven, and in some spots, it was burned, but mostly dry like a bone, and not seasoned very well at all, but we ate it… It was a moment of “bring out a tub of BBQ sauce and pitcher of water”.
I tell ya, my hubby and I, had a bunch of moments, that you’d expect to watch on tv… You just laugh it off and move on. The reality is that I could make a roasted chicken with my eyes closed, but the turkey was really an unfamiliar place.
Anyhow, today I am sharing my recipe for really juicy turkey. After many years of testing different recipes, I finally figure out how to make it like really good.
You do need a little time, about 12 to 14-pound turkey, water, vegetables, oil, and a very large POT.
I will tell you that wet brining, then seasoning a day later before baking it makes one amazingly delicious turkey. Another thing, using a dutch oven makes your life that much easier.
Why? It keeps the heat very well, turkey is cooking evenly, and the food tastes so much better. I will take you to step by step so you won’t make any mistakes.
Last, but not least, I want to say how thankful I am for such an amazing opportunity that came my way this year, and I am grateful for each and one of them.
One of those that I count a blessing, was working with Xtrema Ceramcor, ceramic cookware. Passionate people, fantastic products, magical team…What a fantastic experience this was. I enjoyed every second.
DUTCH OVEN TURKEY
WET TURKEY BRINE
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1- gallon vegetable stock
- 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
- 1 Onion quartered
- 2 Celery stalks chopped into 2-3 slices
- 2-3 stalks of Fresh Sage or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1- gallon COLD water
- In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, combine together kosher salt, vegetable stock, olive oil, black peppercorns, onion, celery, sage, then bring the water to a boil.
- After it boils, remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate. Use when it’s completely cold.
- Stir 1 gallon of cold water and stir again.
- Remove giblets and neck from completely defrosted turkey.
- Submerge turkey in the cool (never warm or hot) brine and refrigerate for 10-15 hours, but never more than 24 hrs.
- Make sure to turn it around at least 3 times during brining.
I added whole Yukon gold potatoes 40 minutes before the turkey was done. Make sure to wash the potatoes, then season with salt and pepper, and just add on the side of the bird. Garnish with whatever you feel like it, and serve with hot gravy and all the other fixings.
PREPARING TURKEY FOR ROASTING
1 (12-14 pound) young Turkey (reserve neck and giblets for the stock)
4 crushed garlic cloves
2 Rosemary stalks
3-4 Fresh Sage leaves
5-6 slices of Hickory Smoked Bacon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Sage
1 teaspoon Dry Parsley
1 teaspoon Salt
1 tablespoon Garlic powder
1 tablespoon Onion powder
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Pat dry a turkey. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and the meat. Try not to break the skin, so be gentle. Lift wings, tips up and over back; tuck under turkey.
- Combine all the ingredients for the butter, in a small bowl.
- Rub butter mixture under loosened skin and over breasts and drumsticks, add inside of the turkey as well, then add a couple of fresh sage leaves and slide them in under the skin.
- Stuff the turkey with 2 roughly chopped carrots, roughly chopped onion, quartered lemon, crushed garlic, and rosemary stalks. Tie legs together with cooking twine/butcher’s twine.
- Place Parchment paper on the bottom of the Dutch oven or a small wire rack to hold the turkey and separate from the very bottom. Parchment pepper works well too.
- Arrange turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack or parchment paper. Bake turkey at 425° for 30 minutes without a lid, just to get a nice color on top.
- Pull the turkey out, then add 5-6 slices of hickory smoked bacon on the turkey breast, cover the Dutch oven and then reduce oven temperature to 325°F
- Bake an additional 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 165°F. 12-14 pound Turkey should require about 2 hours to 2 hours and 15 minutes of roasting, but since I made it in the Dutch oven with a lid, it takes just a bit less time.
- Let the turkey rest, loosely covered for about 30 minutes before carving.
- RECIPE NOTE
- I added whole Yukon gold potatoes 40 minutes before the turkey was done. Make sure to wash the potatoes, then season with salt and pepper, and just add on the side of the bird.
- Garnish with whatever you feel like it, and serve with hot gravy and all the other fixings.