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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Our Thanksgiving Turkey 2011

We hosted Thanksgiving at our new home this year.  There were a total of twenty-five from our family including ourselves.  Larger scale entertaining takes a bit more planning and prep.  This is one time where I do use menu planning.  We were at our vacation home but thanks to email my husband's sister took care of a lot of the menu details.  We provided the turkey and ham as well as our home.  It only seemed fitting especially since both his parents have passed.  My husband is the eldest of his siblings  and since we do a lot of entertaining we have all the extra needed for larger gatherings. 

turkey just out of the natural gas oven
I am getting used to cooking with natural gas and so far loving it immensely!  The new stove was hooked up just a couple of days before we left for our vacation home so I didn't have much time to experiment.  We've only been home not quite five full days so in total have had less than a week to use the stove.  I made a banana loaf, roasted a chicken, and used the stovetop a bit.

We roasted a 23.7 lb turkey for part of our Thanksgiving feast.  There honestly isn't much difference between roasting a chicken or turkey other than timing.  I always roast both stuffed and covered at a lower temperature until the last fifteen minutes or so when I remove the lid for browning.

A turkey this size would have to be in the oven by 10 AM to be ready for dinner at 6 PM, or a total of eight hours when I was using an electric oven.  I put the turkey in at 11:30 AM and discovered it was cooked perfectly by 4:24 PM, for a total of only 5 hours without the need to remove the lid for browning!  The turkey pop-up timer has sprung with confirmation by a meat thermometer at an internal temperature of 175ºF.  Not only are we saving on the price of cooking fuel, the cooking time is reduced.  Now I have to ponder why as the temperature was the same I always use - 275ºF.  Technically, the cook time should be the same regardless of the cooking fuel.

roasted turkey ready for carving
Pictured is the beautiful beast, and doesn't it look delicious?  We roasted the turkey the day before our Thanksgiving feast.  It is a lot easier to de-bone then reheat for larger gathering.  The stuffing is scooped into an oven-proof baking dish for re-heating.  I made the gravy then as well which worked out nicely for defatting.  I kept the carcass for making turkey stock later.  The ham (not pictured) was warmed through the next day.

Tip:  When warming deboned turkey, pour a small amount of water over it then cover well with tinfoil.  This will prevent the turkey from drying out.

My husband and I thoroughly enjoy entertaining our family and friends.  We have a long standing tradition of sending left-overs from larger events home with our guests.  Yes, we could use up the left-overs ourselves but some of our family and friends travel a fair distance to attend meaning they don't get home until after midnight or later yet have to be up for work the next day.  Some of them have little ones as well.  This is our gift to them to help make the next day just a bit easier for them. 

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