In a hurry to find something to make for Thanksgiving that’s quick, simple, and delicious?! Thanks to my crazy urges this eve, I cooked up a mini pre-Thanksgiving dinner tonight that turned out to be the perfect Thanksgiving dinner feast for anyone on the hunt!! No hassles, no rushes- just plain old’ tasty goodness in a jiffy! A few hours total for a great roast turkey, some delish gravy, and a zingy cranberry sauce to go with all the goodness! Happy Thanksgiving Eve!!
Yay, it’s almost Thanksgiving… my favorite time of the year!! Great food, wonderful people, and lots of amazing leftovers!! I know, I know, Thanksgiving is really tomorrow, but I was so excited I just couldn’t wait! I haaaad to start getting in on all the goodness STAT. So I made a roast turkey, some gravy, and some tasty cranberry sauce to enjoy this Thanksgiving eve. There are two things I like about these dishes: 1- they turned out delicious; this turkey guy here was only for the two of us tonight and is already disappearing quickly! 2- this meal is crazy easy. I’m always intimidated by things like roast turkeys… probably because they’re scary and everyone says they take like, all day. But guess what friends, not this one
Nope nope, this one only takes about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Now that I like…
What is so simple and fast you ask? There’s no brining, no marinating, and no 5-hour cooking. It’s a simple process that yields big results. Stuff some aromatics in the cavity (oranges, apples, onions, fresh herbs, etc) and then pour a simple butter-herb-chipotle drizzle over the top. (Of course there’s chipotle- I put it in pretty much everything these days… for good reason, too! Definitely my favorite “secret” ingredient!!) Bake at 350 degrees, baste while cooking, and viola… a beautiful golden brown turkey with crispy skin and a moist center!
After a couple of hours in the oven, let it rest, carve, and dig in! While it’s cooking, you can prep the cranberry sauce and while it’s resting, you can make the gravy from all those delicious juices it left behind!! It’s perfect really… a delicious hearty meal perfect for Thanksgiving (or any normal day if you’re like me). Hope you enjoy and have a happy gobble day!!
For the turkey…
10-12 lb turkey
2-3 celery stalks
1/2 small apple
1/2 yellow onion
a handful/small bunch of each: sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and parsley
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 cup of ghee (or 1 stick soft unsalted butter, nearly melted)
1 tbsp herbs de Provence
1/4 ground chipotle pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
*these amounts make for a lightly seasoned/salted turkey- add more if you’d like it well-salted
For the gravy…
the goodness from your roasting pan (turkey juices, herbs, etc)
2 tbsp ghee (or unsalted butter)
1 tbsp flour (or arrowroot starch for gluten-free)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Roughly chop onion, carrot, and celery into quarters
Cut half an apple into large wedges
Cut orange and lemon halves into thick slices
Tie herbs together using cooking twine or other string
(I actually used sewing thread since I didn’t have any fancy cooking string around)
Remove innards (neck & giblets) from turkey cavity- keep for later (great for stock or gravy!)
Rinse turkey- do this carefully so juices don’t
splatter around your kitchen.. raw poultry juices are no bueno!
Pat dry with a paper towel
Place turkey in a large roasting pan (just a cheapo foil guy works fine)
Stuff cavity with aromatics (herbs, onion, apple, etc)
In a small bowl, microwave butter until soft- nearly melted
Add herbs de Provence, chipotle powder, salt, and pepper
Stir until well mixed
Rub/pour herbed butter all over turkey- even dribble a little until the skin if you can!
A tablespoon or so is good for the inside… use the rest for the outside
Get that guys totally covered- in every nook and cranny!
Bake in preheated oven at 350 on lower rack- for the first hour, make a tent out of foil to prevent the skin from getting too brown, then remove for the remaining time to let the skin get brown and crispy!
Baste every half hour
The turkey should take about 2 1/2 to 3 hours, depending on size- you need to plan for about 15 minutes per pound. Some recipes call for changing temperatures part-way through… I find it easiest to keep with 350, but have the foil for first hour and then no cover to let it brown. If you know another way you like, great!!
When done, the temperature should be 165 degrees throughout- check the breast since it’s the thickest
Let rest when done- very important! Aim for at least 30 minutes…
GRAVY... oh so easy!!
Remove the turkey to a platter- keep all the juices in the roasting pan…
See this stuff- this is what you want!
In a sauce pan, melt 2 tbsp of butter over medium heat
Then add 1 tbsp flour and stir gently until smooth
Once flour and butter are smooth and bubbly, add all of the juices from the roasting pan
(You can also add any veggies or herbs from the turkey, but my I like mine on the smoother side and figure all that stuff flavored it during the cooking process anyway, so not needed
Let come to a light boil, then turn to low and simmer for about 5-10 minutes… that’s it- done!!
Crazy easy, right?! Of course you want to test it and make any adjustments you like- depending on your turkey size,
herbs used, etc., the gravy might yield different flavors…
for my liking, I found it to be perfectly peppered, spiced, and salted just as is!!
Pour into a gravy boat or bowl
One of my favorite condiments in the world!! I LOVE cranberry sauce! This one’s got a little kick- a little sweet, a little tangy, a little spicy. It’ made with orange juice, orange flesh, simple syrup, and yes, you guessed it- chipotle (my newest favorite “secret” ingredient). No worries if you don’t have simple syrup- it’s just sugar and water cooked down until liquidy and then cooled. It’s a common addition to many alcoholic beverages and very easy to find in most stores
Serves about 4-6
1/2 tbsp oil (use any healthy one you like- I use avocado oil or ghee)
1/2 tsp minced Serrano pepper
2 cups cranberries
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup simple syrup (sugar and water OR honey and water)
1/2 orange- flesh only
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground chipotle pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Finely chop Serrano pepper- remove seeds to lessen
spiciness if you prefer (I didn’t, but I like it a wee spicy!)
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat
Toss in Serrano pepper and let cook for a few minutes, until softened
Then add orange juice and simple syrup
Let liquid heat until lightly boiling
Then add cranberries
Quarter the orange half- remove peel and any rough skin- you want just the flesh
Add to cranberries
Add cinnamon, chipotle powder, and salt
Stir and let come to a light boil- taste and adjust flavors as desired
Continue cooking until cranberries pop- about 5 minutes
Then turn to low and let simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes
Pour sauce into a bowl and let refrigerate until cold
(If in a hurry- you can cover and freeze for a while to expedite the process)
When ready to eat, remove from fridge…
Top with a little fresh herb of some sort, and enjoy!!
Now you’re ready for a delicious turkey-day meal!
Carve up your turkey…
Get your goodies ready…
And gobble gobble… enjoy!!
(Don’t worry- this wasn’t all I ate tonight… oh no no, I feasted well!
But do have to save a wee room for tomorrow’s gluttony!)