Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Turkey Day, Revisited

Hm. Christmas is only two days away and I still haven’t posted much about what we did on Thanksgiving. It looks like I don’t have this blogging thing down yet. In my defense, I don’t have a good camera with which to photograph all of the wonderfully seasonal things that are going on at our house. Truth be told, though, it’s not all *that* seasonal!

Regardless, with gusto (Spanish gusto, not English gusto) I am happy to finally tell you about Thanksgiving dinner. Tell you about it this time, instead of complaining that it wasn’t perfect.

Anyhow, A. and I put up yellow/orange/brown paper chains. So cute & elementary-schoolish. We put chandelier beads on the light fixture in the dining area. For the tablecloth, we used yellow cloth and a brown cloth with cute little turkeys. We had turkey salt and pepper shakers. There was even a yellow-candle centerpiece. It was two candles stuck in a canning jar with rock salt. The jar was tied with yellow and brown ribbons. Very simple and kind of cute. We had white disposable plates, real silverware, and glass goblets. Oh, yeah. We also had brown paper napkins. All very convenient. It made for easy cleanup.

We were also going to do toilet paper pumpkins for the bathrooms. I found the cute idea on Ramblings of a Crazy Woman, but A. & I didn’t have time to get to it. We should have done it as a take-home activity instead. Oh, well. Maybe next year. A. & I did get to them a few days later. We used orange cloth, green wired ribbon for the stem, and curly green chenille for the vines. Also, by using extra toilet paper wrapped around the circumference of the toilet paper rolls we ended up getting a rounder pumpkin. So far, we still have two pumpkins that remain unused. They’re on the living room coffee table. I figure we’ll go through them bit by bit as we run out of toilet paper.

As for the grub on Turkey Day, we had Adobo Turkey with Red-Chile Gravy. I found Lillian Chou’s recipe at Epicurious.com. Here’s my version. It’s pretty much the same, only with tweaked amounts adjusted to the size of our turkey.

Adobo Turkey with Red-Chile Gravy

For adobo:
6 dried guajillo chiles, wiped clean
4 dried ancho chiles, wiped clean
1 t. ground cumin
1 ½” piece cinnamon stick, smashed
3 whole allspice
¼ t. ground cloves
6 garlic cloves, smashed
2 ¼ t. dried oregano
2 ¼ t. dried thyme
½ c. cider vinegar
4 ½ T. water
3 T. oil

For turkey and gravy:
1 21-lb. turkey (okay, that’s the size we had, but I’m sure you can adjust to your personal turkey size)
1 ½ c. water, divided
1 ½ T. oil

To make adobo:
Slit chiles lengthwise, then stem and seed. Heat a large heavy skillet (not nonstick) over medium heat until hot, then toast chiles, opening them flat, turning and pressing, until they’re pliable and have changed a bit in color. This takes about 30 seconds.

Transfer to a bowl and cover chiles with boiling water and soak until softened, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix cumin, cinnamon, crushed allspice and cloves together. I put them into a food processor, but it didn’t do the best job. Using a molcajete would probably be best.

Drain chiles, discard liquid, and puree in a blender with the spices, garlic, herbs, vinegar, water, oil, and 3 t. salt until very smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside ¾ c. adobo for gravy.

To marinate the turkey:
Rinse the turkey inside and out. Pat it dry. Sprinkle 3 t. salt evenly in turkey cavities and all over the skin. Rub the remaining adobo all over the turkey, including the cavities. Fold the neck skin under body, then tuck the wing tips under the breast. Transfer to a roasting pan and marinate, covered with plastic wrap and chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 24. (We put it in the fridge to set overnight.)

Roast turkey:
Let it stand, covered, at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350F with the rack in the lower third part of the oven.
Add 1 ½ c. water to the pan and roast the turkey for 1 hour.
Brush turkey with oil and add the remaining cup of water. Then tent it loosely with foil and rotate the pan. Roast until a little popout thermometer pops out. It was three more hours in our case.

Carefully tit the turkey so juices from inside the large cavity run into pan. CAREFULLY transfer the turkey to a platter and let it stand, uncovered, 30 minutes.

Make gravy while turkey stands:
We found that this method of cooking the turkey produce a LOT of turkey juice/drippings. The Epicurious recipe has a precise method of doing the gravy. What we did instead is we got a bunch of juice/water. We skimmed off as much of the grease as possible. Then we heated it up with the reserved adobo. Add flour to thicken. Whisk as much as possible. Then, when you still end up getting flour lumps, just strain it. Yes, I know that cornstarch is better than flour for thickening. But someone made off with it in the middle of the night because we couldn’t find it on turkey day!!

We ended up making a ton of the gravy. That’s a good thing, too. This stuff is delish. We made so much that my gorgeous hubby ended up using some of it a few days later. He made short ribs, I guess they’re called. Then he served them in the gravy. So yummy.

Ms. Chou’s note: The adobo can be made 1 week ahead and chilled in an airtight container. Well, that would be convenient, wouldn’t it? Okay, next time, I’ll plan ahead and do it her way!

Makes a lot of servings, maybe about 12?

Yes, I know the descriptions are lacking a bit. Pictures would be nice. Maybe Santa will bring me a nice digital camera that can take (and hold) a picture. Instead of the camera that I currently have. It goes through batteries amazingly quickly. Sometimes it will even eat the pictures, even when the batteries are charged up. When it doesn't, the pictures are pretty low-quality and they all have a strange blue cast. It would be funny if it wasn't so frustrating. Then again, maybe I'll just hit the after-Christmas sales and get one on my own. :)

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