Even though I live in Estonia and Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated here, I’m still an American at heart and didn’t want to let the holiday go by without some kind of recognition. So, in addition to calling my family and getting to chat with everyone while they prepared for their holiday feast on Thursday, I also bought a piece of turkey with the intention of making J and I a nice meal on Saturday night.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it exactly, so J suggested I consult my gorgeous Jamie Oliver cookbook, which has been sadly neglected as of late. So I did, and of course it gave me some fantastic inspiration: I decided to brine the turkey. Apparently soaking turkey (or chicken) in a salt solution for a few hours (or overnight) before cooking yields tender, moist meat. I’d never tried it so I was willing to give it a shot. Then, since I was already using the brine portion of the recipe, I decided to just go ahead and try the whole recipe.
It was quite simple– sliced potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabaga, carrots and onions got a head start cooking in a casserole dish with some chicken stock, and later the turkey (or chicken) pieces were added, along with some cream and a few pieces of butter. Not a traditional Thanksgiving meal, though a lot of the components are the same– turkey, potatoes, and oven-roasted vegetables.
Isn’t that lovely? Most of the vegetables were cooked nice and soft and had wonderful flavor (although the cream in the sauce curdled, so it wasn’t very pretty). The turkey pieces were quite juicy on the inside, but I don’t know if they were moister than turkey usually is. Since I don’t make turkey breast often it’s hard to say how much the brine affected the meat (it was in the brine for 4-5 hours). It certainly didn’t do any harm, though.
So that was how J and I celebrated with our own little non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner. As always, I was happy to try a new recipe, happy to have so much delicious food, and happy to have J here to enjoy it with me. Thanksgiving or not, it never hurts to be grateful for all the good things in life.