Saturday, December 31, 2011

Turkey Trials

Last year my husband and I decided that we would host a Christmas Dinner for his Dad and cook a turkey. I’ve seen lots of turkeys cooked before it seemed simple enough so I wasn’t too worried about it. We even bought a roasting pan with the rack insert so it would be no problem to transfer the turkey onto a decorative plate for carving. I knew to baste it regularly so it wouldn’t dry out and that it had to cook to a proper temperature before eating.

I had my meat thermometer and turkey baster ready to go!
I set the oven to the required heat and popped that turkey in, looking forward to eating its delicious tender meat 6 hours later. Jake’s Dad arrived in the early afternoon and we visited while I prepped the other fixings we were having with dinner. My brother Ryan and sister-in-law Tash came over too and we were all enjoying the festivities of Christmas and dabbling in a few alcoholic beverages while the afternoon passed.

But then after checking the turkey several times Tash and I discovered that it was taking a very long time to cook. Having already been in for 3 hours it should have been at least halfway there but yet it had barely gone up in degrees on the meat thermometer.
Panic was starting to set in, but thankfully I had loads of snacks and lots of fun drinks to keep everyone amused. A few more hours went by and the turkey wasn’t doing much better. That’s when we started to go through the scenarios of what could be wrong. I was terrified that the turkey would be dry so I didn’t want to turn the oven up too high, but it was becoming increasingly clear that either my meat thermometer was off or my oven was.

Having little choice if I ever wanted this turkey to make it to the dinner table we boosted the temp on the oven and then finally 3 bottles of wine later we had a turkey that was partially cooked.
Yup, I said partially cooked. It was 8:30pm by the time we sat down and my oven only fully cooked half of the turkey. I was fairly confident that with the amount of booze ingested that we could squash any sort of salmonella this turkey could produce. (Okay that’s definitely a joke. I would never serve something I thought would make people sick, so we stuck to the cooked half and chucked the rest.) It was tender and juicy and delicious. Unfortunately it was a turkey failure and I didn’t even attempt to make another turkey until Christmas rolled around again and I decided to give it another shot knowing it was an important food choice I had to learn to cook.

Shortly after my turkey failure we went out and a got an oven thermometer and we found out that my oven was 90 degrees out!!! I had had previous baking failures before this such as a cheesecake that stayed raw in the middle and I always chalked it up to my skills, but apparently my oven also had something to do with it.

This Christmas, I wasn’t playing games. I borrowed my Mom’s huge roaster (Thanks Mom!) and I cooked my glorious turkey in there and it worked fabulously!  I bought a butterball turkey that was pre-stuffed and was meant to be cooked from frozen. I figured after the disaster last year I should try to help myself out as much as possible. The only snag with the turkey roaster was that the turkey doesn’t brown in it so we had to transfer it to the oven for a short period of time to brown it. You’ll notice that by the pictures that it didn’t complete brown, but it completely cooked so what more could I really ask for?
Turkey Trial #1. My husband Jake checking to see if the turkey is cooked.
Thankfully, one side was actually cooked thoroughly so we could eat it.

Turkey Trial #2. SUCCESS!
I also made salad, acorn squash and mashed potatoes to go with it. It was a success! Everyone clapped as the turkey was brought to the table. It was a great night with friends, family, and great food. Food that I can say I had a hand in making delicious, yay me!

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