[Sca-cooks] The 50th annual SCA-Cooks Thanksgiving list!, cont'd.

Elaine Koogler kiridono at gmail.com
Fri Nov 24 15:25:01 PST 2006

Well, we cooked our Thanksgiving stuff...or part of it...today.  Had dinner
yesterday with friends.  We did some experimentation...which we frequently
do when himelf is at home.  We tried a recipe for turkey from the San
Francisco Herald that was wonderful...we had done brining before, but this
mix worked better than any we've tried before.  I'm including the recipe
here for those interested:

1 turkey, about 12 pounds
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups kosher salt (1 1/2 to 1 3/4)
2 1/2 gallons cold water
2 bay leaves, torn into pieces
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
5 whole allspice berries, crushed
4 juniper berries, smashed (see Note
2 tablespoons softened butter + butter for basting
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock plus more as needed
2 tablespoons softened butter + butter for basting
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock plus more as needed

1.    Remove giblet bag from turkey, along with any extra internal fat and
pin feathers. Rinse well under cold tap water.
2.    Combine sugar, salt and 3-4 quarts of water in a large bowl.
3.    Stir until sugar and salt dissolve.
4.    Add remaining brine ingredients except for the remaining 1 1/2-1 3/4
gallons water.
5.     Double-bag two heavy-duty, unscented trash bags (not made of recycled
materials), then put them in an ice chest that is large enough to hold the
6.    Place turkey in bags, pour in brine and remaining 1 1/2-1 3/4 gallons
water -- there should be enough liquid to completely cover the bird.
7.     Press out air in bags; tightly close each bag separately. Keep turkey
cold by piling bags of ice over and around the closed bags which will also
help keep the turkey submerged. Brine for 12-24 hours.
8.    Alternative method: Place turkey and brine in a large pan. Refrigerate
for 12-24 hours. If turkey floats to top, weight it down with a plate and
cans to keep it submerged in brine.
9.    Roasting: Preheat oven to 400°. Remove turkey from brine, rinse and
dry well.
10.    Spread 2 tablespoons softened butter over skin.
11.    Sprinkle pepper over skin and in cavity.
12.     Tuck wing tips under, loosely truss legs and place turkey on a
V-shaped rack in a roasting pan. Tent breast with foil.
13.    Put turkey in oven. To assure that the bird cooks evenly, rotate
roasting pan 180° every 30 minutes while turkey is roasting.
14.    Roast for about 1 hour, remove foil and baste turkey with 1/2 cup
15.     Return to oven and roast, basting with pan drippings every 20
minutes, using more stock as needed.
16.    Start checking internal temperature after about 1 hour of roasting
time. If legs begin to get too brown, cover loosely with foil.
17.     Roast turkey until internal thigh temperature reaches 165°. Total
roasting time should be about 2-2 3/4 hours.
18.    Let bird rest for at least 20-30 minutes before carving.

We didn't roast an entire turkey, as there are just the two of us and we'll
be away from home a great deal next week.  We did a turkey breast...which by
all rights should have dried out.  However, it was incredibly moist and
flavorful...I think it was the best I've ever had!!  I also tried out a new
cranberry sauce recipe:

Cranberry Orange Relish (though it was, to my mind, more of a sauce...)

1 bag fresh cranberries (12-ounce)
1/4 cup water
3/4 cups sugar (3/4 to 1 1/4)
1/2 cup seeded and thinly-sliced orange or other citrus (see Note)
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cinnamon stick

1.    Rinse the cranberries and set aside to drain.
2.    Combine the water and 3/4 cup sugar in a saucepan and heat until the
sugar dissolves.
3.    Add the citrus and shallot and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes
to extract flavor.
4.    Add the cranberries, stir, increase the heat to medium-high and cook
for about 2 minutes.
5.    Add the cinnamon stick, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until
most of the cranberries have popped. Taste for sweetness, adding more sugar
if necessary
6.    Cook over low heat for another 5-10 minutes.
7.    Let cool, remove the cinnamon stick and pour the cranberry sauce into
a serving bowl.

This was also from the Herald...and again was delish!!  We also had Brussels
sprouts...I'm reserving judgment on that recipe as I suspect that smaller
sprouts would have tasted better.  I was going to try a walnut bread
dressing, but ran out of time, so will try that another time.

Kiri (thoroughly sated and happy!)

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