November 28, 2019
Thanksgiving dinner is a Major Production! While each dish isn’t all that complicated, getting them all to the table at the same time and making sure there are no conflicts for the current one oven kitchen takes some planning. We like to get a really good turkey and we’ve found the best in the northern Denver metro area are the Red Birds that our favorite butcher shop, Wally’s Quality Meats carries. These are fresh, never frozen birds and it makes a big difference.
We use a spreadsheet to finagle everything into the correct order. The above is what would happen if we did everything on Thanksgiving. This time we got the turkey a few days early, so we brined it on Wednesday evening and let it dry in the refrigerator overnight. This produces a more crispy skin. Thus today’s timeline actually starts at 4:40 PM, with just prepping the mirepoix and preheating the oven being necessary.
We’ll see how accurate this time line is as the cooking goes along!
The improperly risen half batch of cornbread
The properly risen full batch of cornbread
A bit of a side track. The corn bread for the stuffing isn’t on the time line, since it can be prepared ahead of time. This time we had a bit of a problem. We tried to do a half batch on Wednesday and it didn’t rise properly. We think that’s because we didn’t use a small enough pan and the corn meal batter was so thin that it started setting up before the baking powder had a chance to properly rise the cornmeal. So, Thursday morning, we did our usual double batch and it rose properly.
It’s now 5:00 pm, so we’re right on the timeline.
For the roasting pan, Cook’s Illustrated modifies the mirepoix to be equal parts onions, carrots and celery. We’re starting to collect onion skins for next week’s turkey stock. They give the stock a rich dark color and add a bit of flavor.
The turkey and roasting rack are ready.
The turkey bakes breast side up for the first 45 minutes. The mirepoix is in the pan and it’s into the oven at 5:12 pm, still pretty close to the timeline!