We made two turkeys thinking one wouldn’t be enough for ten diners. The one closer to the camera is a damson plum and five spice basted turkey that I have featured on this site before and made 3-4 times over the years. The other turkey was simply basted with butter. Each was roughly 13 pounds each, and unstuffed, took under three hours to cook. I took them out of the oven about an hour before we carved them (dinner started later than planned) and tented some foil over the birds. They were surprisingly hot when we carved them. The nice thing about having two turkeys instead of one is that you have four legs, thighs, wings, etc. instead of just two humongous ones.
The turkeys on the platter were just for “show” and once guests had a look, they were whisked back into the kitchen to be carved on a wooden board. With the turkeys we had two different gravies, one sweetened just slightly with damson plum jam and the other a slightly lighter gravy. Both were made with slow cooked turkey stock that I made two days before from turkey parts and the necks and giblets from the two turkeys we cooked. We also made cranberry sauce from scratch, using frozen whole cranberries, sugar, orange juice and orange zest. After a night of rest in the refrigerator, the sauce had the perfect jelly like texture. Also on the menu were two kinds of stuffing, both cooked outside the birds. The first, in the rectangular ceramic dish, is a bacon, sausage, onion and celery stuffing made with sourdough bread, lots of herbs, cream and turkey stock. It was good, but nowhere near as delicious as the individual ramekins of Bettyq inspired wild foraged mushroom bread pudding. For the latter I used challah bread, and I will post a more detailed recipe separately. Suffice it to say it was a total slam dunk. Something we will be doing again and again. Great with turkey, probably superb with beef as well. In the background, some mashed potatoes with more butter and heavy cream. A dish of sweet potatoes baked with butter and maple syrup.
To balance out the carbohydrates and protein, we also cooked a dish of haricots verts or small green beans and a slow-roasted head of cauliflower.
A small green salad for anyone seeking a lighter acidic hit…
… a large apple pie made with 17 smallish granny smith apples…
…and a classic pumpkin pie for the traditionalists in the group. I am not a huge fan of pumpkin pie, but understand it is a big part of most thanksgiving celebrations in North America… Guests also brought a bread pudding as well as some butter tarts, a Canadian staple I gather.