21 Days Later… How It All Came Out
by the other theo
I wrote a post just over three weeks ago describing the trepidation I felt about Thanksgiving this year, and what I planned to make. That post prompted Auntie M. (sorority sister of the Missus) to offer to host at her place. After some dithering and miscommunication for which I am very much at fault, we accepted her kind offer and agreed to bring the turkey and some Brussels sprouts to dinner. I was rather tired rolling into 27-Nov, and preparing those two dishes was about all I could handle. It was a tremendous relief to share the holiday load with others.
The turkey was a 9 pound Diestel Heidi’s Hens Organic Turkey, along with an extra leg I got in case there was additional demand for dark meat. I removed the legs from the bird and braised them in red wine with sage, thyme, and rosemary. I de-boned the breast, stuffed it with a mixture of ground turkey, ground pork, mild pork sausage, thyme, sage, parsley, and pistachio nuts to make a turkey roulade, cooked the roulade sous vide at 145 degrees F for about five hours, and finished it with a quick deep fry to give it some nice color.
Both recipes turned out quite well. Frying the roulade was the one slightly scary moment in the process. We were about half an inch of away from a grease fire at one point. Otherwise, it had a gorgeous color on the outside, and looked great in cross section:
At 145 degrees, the meat had a slightly pink color and was firm without being dry. The legs were fall apart tender, and the gravy made from the braising liquid was complex and herbal, which made it debatable about whether to serve red or white wine with the turkey this year.
Here is how the white and dark meat were presented to guests:
The Brussels sprouts were tossed in melted bacon fat, roasted, mixed with roasted pecans and bacon pieces, and then tossed with maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. They were lovely:
Transporting the various bits posed a small problem until I remembered that our mid-sized SUV had anchor points in the back. A couple bungee cords run through the side handles of a cooler created stable container that held everything securely and also kept everything warm.
Auntie M. set a lovely table:
She also contributed some traditional (and not so traditional) Thanksgiving side dishes: tater tots, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole with fried onions, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and mashed potatoes. Here is all the food loaded up on her sideboard (with me helping myself to some turkey):
Auntie M., her sister H., the Peanut, the Missus, the Missus’ Dad, and myself were in attendance. In the end, a good time was had by all. Thanks Auntie M.!