Thanksgiving 2020

Thanksgiving Table
Well, this year was different for all of us. We usually have my parents over to dine with us. But last year my father died, and then this year…well, we all know what this year brought. My dad’s wife spent Thanksgiving with her family and we were going to have my mom over. But as the day got closer she decided she didn’t want to chance it with the virus spreading like wild fire.

We’d already bought all the food so we were doing the meal either way. Greg really likes doing the turkey and I like doing all the sides, so we had a very small Thanksgiving with just us and the pets.

Click the names of the recipes to visit the sites where they came from.

I made The Best Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes from Pinch of Yum

Thanksgiving Mashed Potaotes
from Pinch of Yum

Simple is Best Stuffing from Bon Appetit  I made this last year too and it’s super good!

Thanksgiving Stuffing
from Bon Appetit

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Honey and Miso. This is from the New York Times so if you don’t subscribe you may have trouble seeing this one. You may know of my love/hate with NYT cooking (last year I used their mashed potatoes and they were TERRIBLE) but this one is great!

Thanksgiving Brussels Sprouts

And the Pièce De Résistance…

Thanksgiving Turkey
Yes, the top looks burned. It got a little hot at the end, but it was delicious!

Greg’s Brined and Roasted Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey carved

I wrote up the recipe based on what he told me. I think he left some things out, so if you use this, you might have to improvise a little. Nothing is specific. That’s how we roll.

Brine Ingredients:
1¼ cup Kosher Salt
2 cups sugar
2 cups honey
1 big bunch of parsley
6 or more sprigs each of thyme, tarragon, sage (if you don’t have fresh, I just use up my old dried herbs).
3 lemons halved
1 can concentrated apple juice
1 gallon (16 cups) boiling water
1 gallon cold water
You can also throw in an orange of whatever else that is hanging around and seems good.
12 pound turkey

Roast Ingredients:
3 large fresh fennel bulbs, trimmed, each cut into 8 wedges
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
10 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons fennel seeds, coarsely crushed in resealable plastic bag
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 lemons, halved
1 stick butter, room temp/softened

Brine Directions:
Combine all ingredients except water in a large stock type pot.
Boil 1 gallon of water and pour over the brine ingredients.
Simmer on the stovetop for 5 minutes.
Add one gallon of cold water
Bring mixture to room temperature.
Submerge turkey (after washing and getting all the gross stuff out of the inside) in this fantastic brine and refrigerate overnight 12-24 hours (original recipe says 18 hours is optimal).
If you have to use more water to submerge the turkey, just add some more salt.

Roast Directions:
Cook fennel in large pot of boiling salted water until tender when pierced with knife, about 8 minutes. Drain. Transfer to bowl. Mix in 2 tablespoons oil; garlic; 1 tablespoon each fennel seeds, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, and marjoram; then 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix remaining 1 tablespoon each fennel seeds and herbs in small bowl.
Rub 1 stick softened butter under the skin of the bird. Oil up the bird and rub with salt, pepper, fennel herb mix. Fill cavity with herb, garlic, lemon, apple, onion, celery.
In large roasting pan, arrange remaining fresh fennel mixture along with any of the other veg that didn’t fit in the cavity. Place turkey, breast side down on top of the vegetable mixture. Tie the legs together.
Roast for 30 minutes. After that time, turn the heat to 350F and continue roasting turkey, basting occasionally with pan juices until juices run clear when pierced with fork in thickest part of thigh, about 2 hours longer.
Transfer turkey to a cutting board and let rest for about 30 minutes before carving.

We don’t serve the veggies. But you can save them to use in the Instant Pot later when you make broth out of the carcass.

Pour pan juices into bowl; skim off fat. Make gravy from the drippings. (butter, flour, broth and juices).

Thanksgiving Turkey Gravy

It made so much that I was able to pack up several boxes of leftovers and give some away.

Thanksgiving Leftovers

It was really nice, but I do hope we can have more family visiting for Christmas.