It's that time. Time to plan your menu. Time to buy your turkey and thaw it, if you buy frozen. Actually, if you bought one 10lbs or more, you're officially too late. You need 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds. Any hoo, I'm super grateful today that I saved my photos from last Thanksgiving. You're welcome! Pictured below is a gorgeous bacon wrapped turkey. I got the idea from my brother Scott, who makes this turkey almost every year.
I'll attach a recipe here for good measure, but essentially all you need are the basic placemat weaving skills you learned in elementary school. I have seen that other cooks have created very elaborate bacon weaving techniques, but I basically just made a sweet, sweet bacon blanket to tuck my turkey into. I would recommend a tighter weave to eliminate issues with shrinkage. You can see above that there are spaces between the bacon, which is less than desirable.
Once you've successfully blanketed the turkey, you want to pack it in with a good coating of brown sugar, for flavor and caramelization. Would I do it again? Probably not. It fact, I'm going to be super lazy this year, and put my turkey in a roasting bag, so I don't even need to baste it. That said, the turkey last year was delicious. If you love bacon you should try it. The trade off is that the bacon becomes the skin, so you do have a nice crispy layer, but if you like crispy turkey skin, you’re gonna have to do without.
Next to turkey, my favorite dish is the dressing. It’s dressing, not stuffing, because A) the turkey takes longer to cook with stuffing, and B) if you've read anything about it, you know that there's a high risk of food contamination with stuffing. Dressing it is!
Growing up, my least favorite Thanksgiving food was the dressing/stuffing. It was soggy bread, with mushrooms and too much celery. I'm sure other people enjoyed it, but I do not like a traditional dressing. So, when I started cooking as an adult, I made it my mission to first perfect mashed potatoes. I have. There is nothing better than Alton Brown's Garlic Mash. The guy is annoying as all get out, but if you're looking to perfect a particular food, there is no one better. Once I had done that, I needed to find a dressing I could tolerate. My stepmother once made a sausage and chestnut dressing that I could stomach, so when I saw this recipe I gave it try, and it's been my tried an true for the past 5 Thanksgivings. Kale yes! The Food Network is absolutely wonderful. I don't even know why people make cookbooks now that we have the interwebs.
Last year we rounded out our plates with pea salad, and green bean casserole (cause sometimes you just have to), but this year we'll be making stir-fried brussel sprouts because it's important to try new things. It's also not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie. I typically follow my Mom's recipe, which I'm not sharing, but this year I pre-ordered from Snohomish Pie Co. So, you'll have to wait for Instagram pics. Most importantly, I hope you get to spend this Thursday with people you love. I know I'm going to, and that's what really makes the food special.
I'm a not-for-profit worker that loves food, both healthy and indulgent. I've eaten the 12 egg omelette at Beth's Cafe: toast, hash browns, and all. Take that Adam Richman!