Thanksgiving is orange, brown, yellow, red, and sometimes a little green.
It’s a time I associate with awkward family gatherings and lots of food. There is always turkey involved, in some way. The regrettable thing about turkey is that most people so seldom cook it, that on that annual occasion they do, it is nearly always dry…not commonly, but nearly always dry. All but the most established of vegetarians are obligated to eat some of this dry chewy stuff. Woe to those who live in the home where the bird was prepared, for they are obligated to eat leftovers for the better part of a week, or when everyone is sick of it, whichever comes first (usually the latter).
There are certain joys to the turkey feast. For example, if you are one of the lucky two, you get to eat the drumstick with your bare hands and pretend you’re a caveman, getting juices all over your fingers and face. Finding the wishbone and splitting with someone is always fun too.
The first time I made a bonafide Thanksgiving meal, I looked up all the recipes online. I was so terrified that my turkey would be dry and awful, like all the Turkeys of Thanksgivings Past, that I did lots of research. After perusing several recipes and reading reviews, I decided upon Ursula’s Moister Turkey. How can one go wrong when the word moist is right there in the title, right? I followed the directions exactly.
I seldom prepare meat, let alone a [mostly] intact carcass, so this was one of the most disgusting experiences of my life…but the end results were worthwhile for all who ate it.
While the bird didn’t turn out that appealing crusty brown color associated with Thanksgiving (and woefully dry turkey), the taste was unbeatable. Everyone who ate this turkey said it was the best they’d ever had. For once, none of the meat got chucked in the garbage because people were sick of it. Whoever you are, Ursula, thank you for submitting your excellent turkey recipe to the internet!
Ursula’s Moister Turkey
- 1 large roll of heavy foil
- 3 large onions, sliced
- 1 turkey (12 to 24 lb.)
- salt and pepper
- brandy or Grand Marnier
- fresh sage and thyme
- 2 oranges, quartered
- 2 carrots, cut in chunks
- 2 ribs celery, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1 can chicken stock
- 1 can consommé
Preheat oven to 475°.
Tear off 4 large pieces of foil about 2 1/2 feet long. Fold together 2 pieces to form a big square. Fold several times so that they are well-sealed. Repeat with other two pieces. Place one double sheet of foil in a roasting pan large enough to hold the turkey. Cover the bottom with onion slices. Rub inside turkey cavity with salt and pepper. Rub outside with brandy or Grand Marnier. Loosen the skin around the leg and thigh by rubbing hand between skin and meat. Tuck sage and thyme under the skin of legs and thigh. Put oranges, carrots and celery in turkey cavity. Place turkey on onions and foil and pull foil up to form a container.
Place other double sheet of foil on top of turkey; blouse it up a little over the turkey, then fold the two big pieces of foil together well around all edges to seal. Cook at 475° 1 hour for 12 pounds, and an additional 5 minutes for each pound. (For example, a 14-pound bird would take one hour and 10 minutes.) Pull the turkey out. VERY CAREFULLY peel back the top piece of foil so the turkey can brown. Turn oven down and cook at 375° for the same amount of time that you cooked at the high temperature. Let stand at least 30 minutes before cutting. No need to baste!
From Ursula T., 30 Oct 1994
Some argue that celebrating Thanksgiving is detrimental to the memory of the tragic events surrounding the US’s dark history. While I agree deeply with those sentiments, I also like the idea of having at least one day out of the year where everyone has a chance to reflect on what they are thankful and grateful for. I would be grateful and proud to have a daughter like Wednesday Addams.