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VIDEO/ Thanksgiving Turkey for Beginners

November Wed 21, 2012

(M. Rehemtulla)  (M. Rehemtulla)

Tomorrow, November 22, 2012, the fourth Thursday of November, is Thanksgiving Day in the United States.  The celebration of Thanksgiving dates back to a feast held by the Pilgrims at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621 to celebrate the harvest. The tradition was continued throughout the years but did not become a regular event until the 1660s. It was declared a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 as another way of unifying the states. It was fixed on the fourth Thursday of November (in Lincoln’s time it was held on the last Thursday in November) by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941.

The holiday commemorates the plentiful harvest collected by the pilgrims after an extremely difficult first winter in the New World, in which many people died of starvation and disease. The Wampanoag Native Americans helped the Pilgrims survive by giving them seed and showing them how to hunt and fish. This day is used to give thanks for what we have and to thank those who have helped us, as the Pilgrims apparently did by inviting the Native Americans to the first feast.

Thanksgiving dinner will be incomplete without the legendary Turkey, which was at one time being considered for the national symbol of America, though ultimately abandoned in favor of the more elegant bald eagle. Thanksgiving dinner consists in typically American foods, usually those that they would have had at the first feast. It is said that there were four wild turkeys eaten at that dinner, though there is no evidence for this.

My Turkey Recipe:
To prepare the turkey for roasting in the oven, first remove the giblets (save them for the gravy!) and then rinse the bird inside and out and pat it dry with paper towels.
If you are stuffing the turkey, stuff it loosely and tie the drumsticks together with string.

Next, reach under the skin of the turkey and place sage leaves and thinly sliced circular orange slices. Brush the turkey with melted butter and salt and pepper.

Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The thermometer should point towards the body and should not touch the bone. The turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees or (if you do not have a thermometer) when the thigh juices run clear after you poke the thigh with a fork.

Cut up some onions, carrots and celery and places the pieces in the bottom of the roasting pan. Add white wine. Then put the bird on a rack in the pan. Cover the turkey with tin foil or with a wine soaked cloth.

Preheat the oven and cook the turkey on high for 30 minutes. Then set the oven to 350 F for the rest of the time. The cooking time depends on the size of the turkey and on whether or not it is stuffed. If it is stuffed, then it should cook approximately 4-4.5 hours for a 10-18 pound turkey, 4.5-5 for a 18-22 pound turkey, and 5-5.5 for a 22-25 pound turkey.

Baste every thirty minutes. When there is one hour left to cook, remove the cover from the turkey to brown the skin. Enjoy!



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