Jack is Cooking Roast Turkey!

Well Hello Internet!

So the main event of the Christmas Dinner : Turkey!  well almost the main event, there is ham also.

But anyways, the Turkey!  this is actually pretty easy and almost impossible to screw up.
you can put whatever herbs and spices you want on it, but we had a heritage breed turkey, and honestly its so darn good that it doesn’t need anything except butter and stuffing!

So we took the turkey, and i put some of the delicious pancetta chestnut stuffing and i stuffed it in both ends.  then i took a whole lot of butter and rubbed it all over the turkey.

so somebody might notice that my turkey might be upside down.  however, i think its right side up.  and thats  because the skin on the breast is delicious, and if its in the bottom of the pan it gets soggy.  this way it gets really nice and crispy.  so BREAST UP!
after you’ve covered it in butter, put maybe an inch of water in the pan.  this is important.  very very important!  its the key to moist turkey!  then put tin foil over the whole thing.  but try to have it not touch the turkey.  imagine almost a tent of tinfoil.   this will contain some of the steam from the water, but let some out too.
Then roast it at 350 for about 20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 175°.  for our turkey it took 4.5 hours.  when there is going to be about 45 minutes to an hour left cooking, REMOVE THE TINFOIL  this will allow the skin to get crispy!
  take it out and let it sit for another 30 minutes to an hour
 it will eventually get to 180°
then get your carving tools out and carve away!  Save the pan and the drippings to make Gravy
mmmm mmmm delicious

Jack is Cooking Mashed Carrots and Swede (Rutabaga)

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The other vegetable side dish in the Christmas Dinner that we made is mashed carrots and swedes.  this is something that my grandmother used to make, and is especially delicious.  In england the vegetable is called Swede, but here in america they call it a Rutabaga.

whatever you call it its pretty darn good.

This is the easiest thing we made!

heres what you’ll need:
salt and pepper

so first peel and cut all the vegetables and put them in a pot covered with water.  boil until they are tender, but not mushy

remove and strain, and put them back into the pot. and mash up with a potato masher

add some butter, salt, pepper, and a little bit of nutmeg, and mash again!  keep it a little lumpy though, you don’t want this to be creamy.
so that’s the carrots!
mmmm mmmm delicious!

Jack is Cooking Roast Potatoes

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Heres how to make Roast Potatoes!

unfortunately i forgot to take pictures!  i was so busy making everything, that somehow it slipped my mind…

anyway parboil the potatoes.  this means boil them until the surface is soft, but not the center.
strain.  in the colander swirl them around.  the idea here is to get the outside of the edges (which is now soft) all rough.

then take them and put them back in the pot, and add in a sprinkling of Gluten Free All Purpose Flour  (or regular flour)  swirl them around until they are coated.

take a roasting pan and put some oil.  put this pan in the oven and heat up the oil.
 when the oil is hot, take the potatoes and put them in the pan coating them in the oil.  put the pan back in the oven and roast until they are golden brown.  it should take an hour or so.(you’ll have to turn them every now and then)

mmm mmm delicious

Jack is Cooking Ginger Garlic Brussel Sprouts with Leeks

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Another side dish to the huge meal that is christmas is Brussel Sprouts.  Now I love Brussel Sprouts, so i can eat them just plain old boiled.  My dad however does not like them, and never has.
he has always been made to eat at least 2 of them however – first by his mom, and then by my mom!

The key in the last few years however is to make some kind of Brussel Sprouts that he will actually like,
and this year i succeeded

Julie gave me the beginnings of this recipe, and i added some stuff as i was cooking it just because i thought it would be good.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 of those soup container thingys that brussel sprouts come in these days
2 or 3 leeks (cleaned and cut into small pieces)
1 head of garlic
2-3 inches of ginger
salt and pepper
lemon juice
olive oil

so the trick here is that instead of chopping the brussel sprouts up you actually peel each individual leaf off keeping it intact.  it takes like an hour.  i took the sprouts and watched “Its Always Sunny in Philedelphia: a Very Sunny Christmas” while i did the task.

melt the butter in a pan and add some olive oil.  add the sprout leaves and saute until beginning to get tender:

add in the garlic and the ginger, and the leeks
cook until the leeks are tender.  add salt and pepper and sugar, and saute for a couple of more minutes
then pour a little champagne into the mix!  we were having some very very nice champagne, which made these sprouts extra nice (and dramatically increased the value!! 😉 )
so anyways add the champagne, and steam for 4 minutes,
squeeze a little lemon juice in and stir around!
the leeks are all yummy and caramalized now!
mmmm mmmm delicious!

Jack is Cooking Gluten Free Pancetta Chestnut Stuffing

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Another Huge part of any christmas meal, or any meal involving turkey for that matter is the Stuffing.
Stuffing also contains a huge amount of Gluten, so my sister and I set out to make a gluten free stuffing.

We started with a recipe we saw on the food network, and then changed just about everything to make it far more delicious and far more Gluten Free.

Heres what you’ll need:

3 cloves garlic
6 tablespoons butter
8 oz pancetta diced
2 large onions chopped
2 carrots peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped Fresh Rosemary
1 large jar of roasted whole peeled chestnuts (coarsely chopped)
1 lb of crusty gluten free baguettes chopped up into little cubes(you can often find these in the frozen section of fancy-ish grocery stores.  but if you are gluten-free you probably know where to get these kinds of things.  Whole foods definitely has it, as do more and more stores these days)
1 cup of chicken/turkey broth
salt and pepper
2 large eggs beaten

take 2 tablepoons of the butter and melt in a pan.  fry up the pancetta until its kinda crispy.

drain all the grease out and put into a bowl

take the rest of the butter and melt into a pan.  cook the onions, carrots, rosemary, and garlic together until the onions are tender.
stir in the chestnuts.
put everything in the bowl with the pancetta and stir until mixed.
add in the bread chunksand toss to coat.  add the broth until its nice and moist, season with salt and pepper, and then mix in the beaten eggs.
pour into a baking pan
If you are cooking a huge meal (as we were) it is advisable to do this the day before, and refrigerate until the next day when you are ready to cook.
next day!
put some of this stuffing inside the turkey!  yum yum
the rest of the stuffing cover with tinfoil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes  then remove the tinfoil and bake another 15 minutes
Heres a tip:  if you are cooking this stuffing as part of a larger meal, remember this takes only 45 minutes to cook, and the turkey takes like 4 hours or something.  so cook this at the end!
in my larger conglomerate post about Christmas Dinner i will talk about the timing of everything!
mmmm mmmm delicious!