Some days you are smacked with the fact that reality bites.
My Cousin inspired this post. She declared that much like artists have certain periods- flowers, women, dogs sitting around a poker table, I am currently going through my culinary Turkey Period.
Candidly, I’m doing it because of my economy, but I do love me some Turkey. I really truly believe that Adam Sandler was in my head when he wrote the Turkey song. Google it if you have been living under a rock and you don’t know what I’m talking about.
Here’s the thing. I don’t understand why people stress out so much about making Thanksgiving dinner. Roasting a turkey, in my opinion is easier than making spaghetti sauce. All you need are a few items, an oven and patience. Heck, my recipe, doesn’t even require basting.
So, my recipe for roast turkey. This is all very, very approximate. There are a ton of resources for the specifics, but I’ll give you the gist here. I don’t stuff my bird with traditional “stuffing” or “dressing.” By the by, what do you call that stuff? I’ve learned over the years it’s very regional- dressing, stuffing, potatooo, potatoh.
Roast Turkey ala Me.
- Big ass bird- thawed. If your bird is frozen, read here about the SAFEST way to thaw your bird.
- Onion- yellow or white. Peeled and quartered
- 2 or 3 carrots rough chopped
- 1-2 celery stalks. Rough chopped. Feel free to leave the tops on.
- 1 small lemon
- 1 apple chopped. Don’t bother peeling it. You won’t be eating it.
- Few cloves of garlic
- Kosher Salt
- Olive Oil
- Black Pepper
- Sprig of fresh rosemary (if you have it)
- Few pinches of dried thyme (if you have it)
Roasting Pan w/rack inside
Preheat oven to 400 Degrees
Chop all veggies
Make sure that the turkey has all of the inside stuff removed and quickly rinsed off. Pat dry with paper towel and set aside.
Take a healthy pinch of kosher salt and toss inside of bird.
Gently shove all of the veggies INSIDE the bird. Pack ’em in.
Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the bird- massage it in. Sprinkle with more kosher salt and pepper. Place bird BREAST side down.
Repeat with the olive oil/salt/pepper treatment on the side of the bird facing up.
Toss in the oven- on the BOTTOM RACK- and let cook for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
After the first 30, turn down oven to 35o and cook for 2-2.5 hours (depending on the weight of the bird) until the internal temp is at LEAST 160, max 180. Juices should be clear, not red.
The following is the hardest part. Seriously.
Take cooked turkey out of the oven.
Turn your broiler on to 500 F
FLIP YOUR BIRD. Yep, you might need an extra set of hands here, but you want to crisp up the bottom that has been facing downwards the entire time.
Once you flip your bird, put back in the oven for 7-10 minutes. Keep an eye on this, because it will get crispy quickly.
Pull back out.
Turn oven off.
Let rest for at least 20 minutes prior to carving.
On Tuesday, I decided to roast a chicken. You know, a basic roasted chicken.
Being me, I decided that I needed to play with it a little bit. I took the bird (bought at the Mexican Meat market for $3.00), loaded the inner cavity with lemons and garlic, gave it a healthy coat of salt, pepper and olive oil, and threw in a roaster that had been lined with sliced onions. Easy peasy. Cook at 425 for about an hour (or the juices run clear.) House smelled delicious, and it was gorgeous.
Ok, now that I have the chicken, what was I going to do with it?
Chicken Pot Pie was the only answer. Seriously. I’ve been craving it for weeks. Not just a frozen pot pie (although I do have a few in the freezer now, but a real home-made pot pie.
It starts with the crust. I like my crusts flakey (as one would say I like my men). I used a basic Pate Brisee recipe that I learned in school. Lots of cold, cold butter. Ice water. Flour. Salt. Sugar. Instructions to follow.
The key to a good pie crust- work fast, use cold, cold ingredients and don’t putz around with it too much. The more you work the dough, the tougher it will be.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes. I keep the butter chilled to the moment it goes in the processor.
- 1 teaspoon salt (kosher, of course)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 6 to 8 Tbsp ice water (literally ice water, with cubes. keep it cold)
Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready. Do not over water.
Take the dough and knead it into a quick roundish mound. Split in half, form into two equal sized disks, wrap in plastic wrap and toss into the fridge for at least an hour. The dough needs to be chilled.
When ready, make sure you bring out to room temp for about 5 minutes before you start working the dough again.
Roll it out, throw in oven for 20-25 minutes, or once the top gets golden brown. You can use an egg wash, but you don’t have to. This recipe will make on total pie (top & bottom) , 2 tops or 6 mini pie tops. If you are using this recipe for a full sized pie- cover the edges in foil for the first 10-15 minutes. This will prohibit them from burning.
Ok- whew. That was a long diatribe on the crust without even getting to the darn pot pie.
Ingredients for pot pie (Or so I fashioned)
Chicken (cooked, cut up)- about 1.5 cups (or more)
Frozen Mixed Veggies- 1 bag
1.5 c of cut, cooked potatoes
can of peas
stick of butter (use to your health comfort)
1/2 c of flour
2.5 C of Chicken Broth. I used boullion, but you can use the box stuff if you want.
1 C of milk
salt, pepper and garlic
Ok- so here we go:
1.) Chop onion and celery and garlic into small bite sized pieces
2.) In a dutch oven melt 2 tbl of butter and 1 quick splash of olive oil. Heat up.
3.) Toss onion/celery in oven and let cook for about 5 minutes, or until onions are soften. Pepper your mix at this point.
4.) Add in bag of frozen veggies to mix, and stir until all thawed
5.) Toss in potatoes and mix (don’t stir too hard, or your ‘taters will break.
6.) Add 3-4 more tbl of butter and let melt all the way.
7.) Add 1/2 cup of flour and stir until all mixed in.
8.) Pour in broth, then mix and let thicken (about 10 minutes)
9.) Add in chicken and peas
10.) Let simmer. Add herbs and spices to taste
11.) Turn off heat and let thicken a bit more-5-10 minutes. This will also let it cool down a bit before putting in pie tins.
Let this cool another few minutes before putting the pie cover on. However, this is the time, for you to set the filled pie plates aside and start rolling out your tops. Reserve one mini pie plate to use as template.
Preheat the oven to 375.
Pull dough out of fridge and set on counter for five minutes. Sprinkle flour on countertop and quickly roll out. DO NOT WORK DOUGH TOO MUCH. Use the pie plate as your guide to cut. Leave an extra 1.5 inches around for the “fold over”
Fill your pies.
Cover them with dough
Take an egg and a tbl of water and create a quick egg wash. Cover tops of pies.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until pie tops are golden.
Truthfully, I forgot to take a picture of the final pie. But I assure you, it was delicious.