Christmas dinner was memorable. For more reasons than one. It was memorable for me because I was super happy spending all that time and effort in the kitchen, but also because of the spectacular FAIL that was the turkey.
It started out well.
*Notice the nice-looking stainless steel roasting pan I had just bought and was using for the turkey.*
In went the bird into the oven, and I roasted it according to all the instructions I was given and had researched. It should have been done after about 4.25 hours. I inserted an instant read meat thermometer but the temperature was not yet there, so back into the oven it went. And I kept checking it for the next half hour, but the temperature never got to where it was supposed to get to. The thermometer I was using had given me trouble before with inaccurate readings, so after 4.75 hours I deemed it done because it looked that way and when I pierced the thigh area, the juices ran clear.
After letting it rest for a good half hour, my mom started carving the bird. That’s when we realized that while the top half of the bird was overcooked (some parts were dry and overcooked), the bottom half was still raw! Yes, raw turkey. MAJOR FAIL.
Needless to say, I was disappointed and stressed. But luckily, the top part was edible, so that’s what we ate, and all the side dishes turned out quite well, so dinner was very enjoyable despite the turkey fail.
After much discussion and pondering over what went wrong with the turkey, we believe the culprit was the very heavy-bottomed stainless steel roasting pan. It’s much thicker than the enamel roasters, and I think that’s why the bottom half of the turkey didn’t cook while the top half was overdone. (I had cooked it uncovered in the oven) Anyone have any advice?? Other than get a new roaster?
In any case, lesson learned: always try out your new cookware before an important dinner!
Thankfully, the side dishes were all tried and true recipes, and they all turned out well. We had my Sausage-Apple-Cranberry Dressing, Mama Pea’s Cranberry-Blueberry Sauce (with some adjustments), roast yam wedges, mashed potatoes (Len was the master of the potatoes and they turned out fantabulously!), steamed broccoli, and green bean stir-fry with lemon zest and roasted almond slices.
I adjusted my recipe for the dressing and I think it turned out even better this time, so I’m posting my new and revised recipe:
Sausage-Apple-Cranberry Dressing Version 2.0
- 12 turkey breakfast sausages (375g)
- 7 slices of whole grain bread
- 1 onion, diced
- 2-3 stalks celery, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp canola oil
- 3 tsp ground sage
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 hefty pinch each of salt and pepper
- 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1 C dried cranberries
- 1.5 C low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 C water
- 1/4 C melted unsalted butter
- zest of one orange
Cube all the bread, spread onto a cookie sheet and toast in a 400° oven until golden brown (watch carefully so it doesn’t burn!). Then set aside.
In a large pan over med-high heat, sear all sides of sausages. Remove from pan and transfer to a cutting board.
Drizzle in canola oil and saute onion, celery, and garlic until softened and onion is translucent.
In the meantime, dice the sausages.
Add to the pan the salt/pepper, sage, thyme, and rosemary. Stir around for 30 sec. Now add the diced sausages, apples, and cranberries. Stir, then cover and cook until the sausages are done.
Now add the toasted bread cubes, broth, water, and melted butter. Mix well, cover, and cook for a couple more minutes. Turn off heat, then zest one orange into mixture. Mix.
You can serve the dressing as is, or pop it into a 350° oven after the turkey is done and resting for about 20 minutes to give the top a bit of a roasted flavour.
It was a hit! 🙂
The other dish that was a hit was the Cranberry-Blueberry Sauce, based on Mama Pea’s recipe (serves about 6 people, so double if you want more or if your peeps like a lot of cranberry sauce):
- 1/2 package of fresh cranberries (6 oz)
- 1/2 C pulp-free orange juice
- 1/4 C pure maple syrup
- 2 TB organic cane sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2/3 C frozen blueberries (or fresh if you can find it)
Rinse and drain cranberries.
In a medium pot over med-high heat, dissolve syrup and sugar in orange juice. When it comes to a boil, turn down heat to medium and add cranberries.
Gently cook cranberries (turn down to med-low if boiling too violently) for about 8-10 mins or until cranberries have burst and sauce has thickened. Add cinnamon and mix well. Now add blueberries.
Stir blueberries in, mashing a few as you stir. Cook for a couple of minutes more, and you’re done!
The blueberries add a lovely texture, flavour, and sweetness to the cranberry sauce. And the sweetness of the blueberries mean you don’t have to use quite as much sugar as you usually do for cranberry sauce (it’s normally a 1:1 ratio of liquid to sugar, and this recipe uses a bit under that). This sauce is also really nice paired with pancakes the next morning! 🙂
Here’s my dinner plate:
Brevan joined us as well, and we all had a lovely night.