I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

stuffing, or how to satisfy everyone. i hope.

So Christmas dinner involved 15 people, and two turkeys - one cooked overnight with one stuffing, the second popped in on Christmas morning with the second. 

Sound like a lot of work? Logistics aside, it was perfect and I'd do it again.

The logistics involved:
- two smaller birds (16lb each) versus one huge one (25+ lb)
- an oven capable of only one of those at a time
- one roaster pan
- one pot for brining the turkeys for 8 hours each
- a fridge that rapidly took on a Tetris-like appearance, thanks to two big bowls of stuffing, a dish of make-ahead mashed potatoes and one of sweet potatoes.

Once this was all figured out, it was a breeze.

On the 23rd the fresh turkeys were picked up from the local butcher (and here I add that I am so glad for the opportunity to buy from local farmers!), brought home and left outside in a cooler. Two turkeys in my fridge at a time? That's a good one. The stuffings were made: 
- the family favourite with mashed potatoes, bread, savoury and onion
- the newcomer with toasted bread, pork sausage, cranberries, apple, duck liver, and the Scarborough Fair of herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme)

The brine was put together (water, lots of salt, brown sugar, onion, and herbs) and turkey #1 soaked for 8 hours just outside the back door. Then space strangely was found in the fridge for that turkey to dry - so that the skin will crisp up nicely in the oven - and turkey #2 went in a fresh batch of brine. Christmas Eve after the stockings were hung, turkey 1 was stuffed and put in the oven to roast slowly overnight, and turkey 2 took its place in the fridge to dry. See? A breeze.
Butterfingers - literally! (and yes, that is pretty much my whole kitchen)

Oh! The smell of waking to roasting turkey. It reminds me of childhood. So homey. It was done cooking by the time we woke up, so it left the oven to make room for the homemade cinnamon buns that had been rising overnight in the fridge. Oh right, I forgot to mention those. 

After gifts were opened, turkey 1 had all the meat removed and put into a pan, the roaster was cleaned, and turkey 2, stuffed and rubbed with butter, started roasting.

The end result was worth all the turkey juggling. Two delicious stuffings, different enough for each to have a place at the table. Gravy that was ready ahead of time, thanks to the drippings from turkey 1 already being done. A splash of vermouth, by the way, makes gravy insanely awesome. The meat from turkey 2 fed us all, with turkey 1 providing lots of leftovers. 

Yeah, I 'll do that again.

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