Sourcing your turkey
Thanksgiving Turkey, 2016: Every Thanksgiving begins with the thought of your bird. Selection, and planning is all part of the process, because for most of us Westerners, the bird is the center piece. We were lucky enough to find a turkey farm not so far away from our home. Not only is Wendelinhof a turkey farm, but they are an organic turkey farm. First step, ordering. Once ordered, we then can schedule a pick up of our fresh bird, direct from the farmer. Wendelinhof is in the neighboring town. These turkey’s get to enjoy a few months of life, outside, inside, eating insects and fresh grass. A seemingly good quality of life considering they are farm raised vs. wild. Sourcing a humanly raised animal for your menu, is the least one can do for that animal intended for your table.
Thanksgiving, is an American tradition, dating back to the first celebrated Thanksgiving in 1621, which was attended by the two most important breeds in the new world-the demure, white European Pilgrims, and the wild, pesky Native’s. Old meets new? Old meets old? Who’s to say. It took almost 150 years more to officiate this feast by declaring it a federal holiday in 1863. What it has evolved into following another 150 years has remained a true day of feast. The feast dictates the day, and if you’re luck enough to celebrate with family and friends, the day is even more worthy.
Old meets New
I think our Thanksgiving menu has always been a mix of the original, “old meets new”. My mother incorporated her heritage with the American way…We always had a touch of Italian in our menu-Risotto, ravioli’s, canoli, biscotti … it was always felt. If you have a strong family heritage as well, for sure incorporate it into your holiday menu. Sure, over the years we update our recipe options: maybe one year will be a chestnut-stuffed bird, or maybe candied sweet potatoes, or a mashed carrot side dish-but the meal is certainly reflective of the seasonal harvest of the fall. Carrots, shallots, onions, potatoes, cruciferous veg, pumpkins, and the main event…the bird.
I love turkey’s. I think they are incredibly intelligent creatures and again, I feel guilt when I put one on my menu, but there is a special place in my heart for the Thanksgiving bird. Think before you buy. As I mentioned before, try to source your bird from a local grower, rather than from a large super market chain. Try to encourage and support humane living for animals by supporting humane farmers and raisers. With this approach, you have a better chance of celebrating the animal’s life. Rather than feasting on an unhappy animal, you feast on a satisfied animal, with the hopes that he or she has lived a wonderful life and has been eating, drinking and being merry until the month of November arrives.
Believe me, the taste will be observed from a happy, well raised bird. This year, our turkey was slaughtered on Wednesday morning, and we cooked it the next day.
Standard Baking Time
The meat was so tender and juicy and she was cooked to perfection. My steps in cooking the bird were pretty simple. I took her out of the bag, put her on the working board and began to butter, stuff and season her up. Follow the basic baking guide based on the weight, and let her bake for about 2 hours. Take her out and let her sit covered for 20 minutes. I did not open the oven door at all during the roasting process. Just let her sit in the wine juices and the butter while she cooked and crisped. Very simple, if you ask me!
Menu for Thanksgiving celebrated over the pond, in Europe
- Organic Turkey (4.5kg=8.5lbs), butter rubbed and herbed
- Some Turkey information
- Mashed Potatoes
- Red caramelized onions with sliced carrots
- Brussels sprout cooked with chunks of organic ‘bacon’
- Stuffing made with fresh French bread, garlic, dried apricots, celery, celery root, Italian sausage and turkey hearts
- Served with a warm hearty red wine
Get creative, have fun, and make some memories through celebrating your heritage.