Here are my Thanksgiving day recipes. It has a bit of an international flavor and it has the benefit of keeping the turkey moist without brining for a day before, which in my experience tends to dry out the skin.
1 free-range turkey, 8-10 pounds, with giblets and neck, wing tips removed and reserved
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, peeled and halved
1 carrot, peeled
1 bouquet garni (2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, 6 stems parsley and 2 sprigs chervil)
1 whole clove
1 quart chicken or turkey broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* Remove the turkey and the butter from the refrigerator 1 hour in advance.
* Put the turkey into a large Dutch oven and add the onion, carrot, bouquet garni, clove, neck (cut in half), giblets and wing tips. Pour the broth over and cover the pot with aluminum foil. Put the lid on top (if it doesn’t fit, just make sure the foil is very snug around the rim) and cook over low heat for 35 minutes.
* Remove the turkey from the pot of broth and put it on a deep platter. With a skimmer or slotted spoon, remove the vegetables and giblets to the platter, too. Pour most of the broth into a small saucepan, leaving just a little in the large pot.
* Spread the softened butter all over the turkey, adding any extra to the pot. Season the turkey with salt and pepper. To keep them from burning, wrap the ends of the drumsticks with aluminum foil. Put the turkey back into the large pot on its side, along with the vegetables and giblets. Pour any juices that collected under the turkey into the saucepan of broth.
* Put the turkey, uncovered, into the oven. Set the oven temperature to 400 degrees (the oven should not be preheated) and cook until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees, about 1 hour and 40 minutes. Start by roasting the turkey for 40 minutes on the first side, then 40 minutes on the second side, 10 minutes on its back, and finally 10 minutes on its breast, turning the turkey with sturdy tongs. Baste the turkey with its cooking juices at least once every 30 minutes.
* When you turn the turkey on its back (after 1 hour and 20 minutes), begin to prepare the sauce: Bring the small saucepan to a boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the turkey comes out of the oven.
* When the turkey is cooked, remove it to a platter. Put the vegetables on the serving platter, but discard the clove and the bouquet garni. You can eat the roasted giblets if you like or save them to make broth.
* Spoon as much fat out of the turkey pot as possible. Keep the brown cooking juices. Pour the broth from the small saucepan into the large pot and boil for 10 minutes. Put this sauce through a fine strainer and serve it on top of the carved turkey or on the side in a sauceboat.
Sweet Mashed Potatoes
8 medium sweet potatoes
2 cups coconut milk, approximately
1 cinnamon stick
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
* Set the sweet potatoes in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. After 20 minutes, perforate the potatoes in several places to prevent bursting. They are done when they can be easily pierced with a fork all the way through their thickest part.
* Let cool, then peel. Cut up roughly and process two or three at a time until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan.
* Bring the coconut milk to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes with the cinnamon stick and, if you are using it, the brown sugar. Strain and whisk into the sweet potato purée. Add the coconut milk a cup at a time until you get the consistency you like.
* Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and reheat just before serving. Brown sugar can also be added to sweeten.