Thanksgiving went by so quickly that I felt like I didn’t really get my fill of the holiday. Up in Michigan, we celebrated Thanksgiving with Marc’s family at the lake – his aunt and uncle put out an incredible table of traditional dishes to satisfy anyone. My task was to roast the turkey – an important job nonetheless but I was confident I could pull it off.
Now for any chef, working in an unfamiliar kitchen is always daunting – you never have everything you need so one must improvise. For the big holiday, the turkey was simply seasoned with thyme, sage, paprika, black pepper, garlic, onion, oregano and celery salt. These were the spices I had at my disposal so I had to make it work – for extra flavor I added strips of bacon over the breast to help self-baste the bird while roasting. I also like to baste every 30 minutes as well to add to the juiciness.
I was more than amused and curious when Marc called out to me to check out the group of wild turkeys walking through the side yard. Not the most attractive bird, the gawky, grazing birds where an apropos addition to our holiday. The snow started to fall outside and the ground was speckled white.
Hours later, our turkey emerged from the oven with crisp, golden brown skin and the bacon was extra crispy and delicious. Thinking about that festive meal, I wanted to repeat those savory flavors and make it all over again.
Last night, I prepared a hotel-style turkey breast in very much the same style to how I made it for Thanksgiving. As the turkey convection roasted I made a quick cranberry sauce. Made with 1 cup of water, 1 cup sugar and a bag of fresh cranberries - the sauce starts by dissolving the sugar in the water as it comes to a boil. Once the sugar dissolves, add cranberries and stir on low heat for 10 minutes. Cool sauce and chill.
A savory dressing made of corn bread, onion, celery, and sausage were prepped and ready to combine. Time passed and the scent of Thanksgiving filled the apartment. I can't get enough of that comforting aroma. As the turkey rested before carving, I used the pan drippings to make a creamy, deeply flavored gravy.
When we sat down to eat I was grateful for a quiet weekend at home, for the family and friends in my life and for the opportunity to cook for someone special.