Roast Turkey Dinner in April

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As some of you know, I don’t do Thanksgiving as a holiday. There are lots of reasons, foremost being its link to Native American/Tribal genocide (MTV attempted to use humor to explain where we’ve gone wrong in celebrating some truly horrific atrocities in our history, and they do a pretty good job of it). I do like getting together with friends, and I like to provide a gathering place for folks who don’t have family close by. The Friday after, I gather folks for Friendsgiving, where I make an Italian feast. Part of my family is Italian, and I figure that folks have had enough stuffing and turkey by then.

I must admit, however, that I do love a good roast turkey with all the trimmings. After the winter holiday season, our local farmer had a few turkeys in their freezer still, and put them on sale. I bought a pretty giant one, about 17lbs or so. It wasn’t until this month that I had the time and inspiration to thaw it, brine it, roast it, and whip up all the sides. I am proud to say that (aside from the 3 day thawing and brining process), I did all of this in just one afternoon! I used Alton Brown’s brining recipe for the turkey, and I finally got to use my handy-dandy new meat thermometer (gift from my in-laws) to monitor the cooking.

My most exciting discovery was how great my spaetzle press works for perfect mashed potatoes! I just boiled the yukon golds in salted water until tender enough to be easily pierced with the tip of a knife and then was able to put the whole potato into the press, skin and all.

Out came perfectly riced potatoes, no skin or eyes at all. I added in hot whole milk and melted butter, salt and pepper to taste, just mixing enough to get a smooth consistency. I added a touch more milk before serving to loosen them up, and they held beautifully in the meantime while I finished the gravy etc.

I will never make mashed potatoes any other way. I actually can’t wait to make spaetzle as well. Also pictured: mushroom, walnut, sourdough stuffing, turkey giblet gravy, roast brussels sprouts, cranberry-clementine chutney.

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