This year was our little family (Derek, the boys and I) and my in-laws. Now I usually just get a frozen turkey from the local supermarket. It was what my grandma always did. For the last 7 or so years I have been giving the turkey a soak in a brine which has always made it juicy and produced the best pan drippings for gravy.
This year however, I splurged and got a freshly killed, free range organic turkey. This guy was just shy of 20 lbs. (roast turkey NEVER lasts long in our house)
He soaked in a brine for 8 hours.
1 cup kosher salt, 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar per gallon of water. Enough brine to cover the turkey. (I put it in a clean cooler with ice packs) The turkey soaks for 8 hours in the brine. I put it in Wednesday morning, take it out of the brine after it's soak and place it on a drying rack in the fridge over night, which helps the skin get taunt and dry (and crispy when it is roasted).
I am in the group of turkey stuffers. I have never gotten sick from stuffing. It always goes in the turkey warm & I always check the temp of it too. My stuffing is from my grandma. It is the only stuffing I have really ever had for thanksgiving. I've tried others, I like this one.
2-3 loaves of a dense whole wheat bread (my grandma always used orrow wheat honey wheat berry bread)
1 stick of butter (unsalted)
1 large onion chopped
1/2 bunch celery chopped (hearts, leaves and all)
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped (or macintosh is good too, you want a more tart apple)
handful of sweet baby pickles finely chopped (the little ones)
2 squatty cans of sliced black olives, drained
salt & pepepr
In a BIG pan melt the butter and saute the onion and celery till they are creamy golden (not too soft) set aside.
in a BIG bowl, pour your warm water in, and take a handful of your bread, dunk it in the water and squeeze out the excess. Break up the bread in the bowl (or I use my extra roasting pan) you are mixing the stuffing in. Continue this till you get the desired amount of stuffing. Add the onion & celery. add the rest of the ingredients and mix together well (hands work best) season to taste with ground sage, salt & pepper. (my grandma always just knew how much, never measured)
put it in a pan & bake or stuff in the turkey.
Anywhoo, here was our turkey, all done. Roasted and beautiful.
Hope your thanksgiving was a good one!