Dan and I love Thanksgiving. We love the time with family and all the food that we get to enjoy. Every year, we normally cook a small Thanksgiving dinner for ourselves to test out new recipes and practice our specialities to get ready for the real thing. I've cooked our Thanksgiving meal for Dan's family for the past 3 years, so this has become quite a tradition for us. It's a sweet time to cook together, without the hurry or other people, and just enjoy each other's company. We also usually try to make it as healthy as possible. Over the next few posts, I'll share with you some of our recipes for the holidays.
In this post, I'll share how to cook a delicious Thanksgiving bird. When we cook our little early Thanksgiving dinner, we don't cook turkey. We normally cook a chicken instead, mainly because you can buy them much smaller- since its just the two of us. This recipe could (and will at our Thanksgiving) be used on a turkey. The recipe will just need to be doubled (or tripled, depending on the size of your turkey).
What you need:
1. Chicken or Turkey
2. Balsamic Vinegar
3. 3 Bay Leaves
4. 3 Lemons
5. 2 tbsp. Rosemary
6. 1 tbsp. each of salt and pepper
7. An extra set of hands for seasoning the bird :)
1. Remove any giblets or neck from the inside of the bird. Drain out any excess liquid and pat dry.
2. Sprinkly half of the salt and pepper inside the chicken/turkey. Pour in about 2 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar. Cut the lemon into quarters and place inside of bird along with bay leaves. Make sure the inside is completely full.
Note: You can not taste the vinegar. It acts as a great tenderizer, without the added calories or chemicals.
3. On the outside, use your fingers to separate the skin from the meat, being careful not to tear it. Inside of the skin, pour in about 2 tsp. of balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp. of salt and pepper, and about 2 tsp. of rosemary.
4. Use vinegar, remaining rosemary, and remaining salt and pepper to coat the outside, both top and bottom.
5. Place in a roasting pan (allows the drippings to fall away; makes for a healthier version). Tightly wrap the pan with foil.
To cook poultry, the rule is to cook it for 20 minutes per pound on 350 degrees. For example, this chicken weighed 4.81 pounds, so 20 x 4.81 is 96.2 minutes. Because I cook it for 15 minutes on 425 degrees, I can take off a few minutes (no more than 15). Cook your bird for the majority of the time at 350 degrees. For the last 15 minutes, remove the foil and cook at 425 degrees. I cooked this chicken for 1 hour, 15 minutes on 350 with foil, and then 15 minutes without foil on 425. Whatever your cooking time ends up being, make sure that when you're done, the juices from between the leg and the breast run clear.
6. Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the bird and assures that you will have a really moist chicken or turkey all the way through.
Make sure you save the drippings in the roasting pan for gravy! In the next post, I'll show you how to make amazing, fool-proof gravy.