Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Diary of a Christmas Dinner: Part 5 (photo intensive!)

Christmas Day

Intro: I’m posting this the day after Christmas only because the day was a rather busy one and by the time things were quiet enough to post, I was half asleep on the sofa in the living room… at 7:30 p.m.!

Well, today is the day. We got up at 7:30 a.m. Right now, it’s just after 8 a.m. and we’re pouring coffee into ourselves before we get the day going. John’s brought the turkey in from outside, where it’s about -5ºC.

The basting liquid is back up to a simmer and will remain there as long as we need to baste the turkey. Whatever remains will go into the gravy. The kitchen needs a bit of tidying, dishes need doing, so I’ll be doing that and then baking the dinner rolls I didn’t make last night. Plans change, life happens. We ended up going upstairs for drinks and nibblies, at S’s invitation. Now, I’ll have to make the rolls today.

The first thing to do, of course, is to stuff the turkey. There was way more stuffing than we needed but I always insist that the first time you make something, follow the recipe. The bowl at the front, with the yellow “goop” (that’s a technical term, by the way), is the paste that later gets painted over the turkey.

These bags of stuffing are now frozen. That’s about 8 cups of stuffing that will likely be used for future roasted chickens.

The first thing that needs to be done with the prepared turkey is to brown it thoroughly, to give the outer paste covering something to adhere to. This step is done at 450ºF; it takes about an hour and creates a lot of smoke. Even though it’s hovering just below freezing outside, we had all the doors and windows open about half way through this step.

Once the turkey is browned, the first coat of the paste is painted on and the turkey is placed back in the oven so that layer can set. A second layer is then painted on, using it all up. The paste is a mixture of egg yolks, dry mustard, onion juice (half a large onion liquefied with the help of a blender), salt, cayenne, lemon juice and thickened with flour.

The heat is then turned down and the real cooking begins. From here on, until the turkey is done, it is basted every 15 minutes. Thank goodness for the timer app on my iPod Touch. It’s even easy enough for John to understand!

When the allotted time is up, in this case, about 4 hours, the turkey comes out of the oven looking like this…

It smelled amazing! And looked disastrously black! For now, though, it’s dinner time. There’s one more quick post coming, just to recap and let you know how it all turned out.

From John, Evelyn, and our friend Mike…

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