Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I got this feeling most definitely from my dad. Pops loved Thanksgiving because of the Radio City Rockettes. He LOVED them. He’d always have a glass
Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry and watch the Macy’s Parade. Nothing like a bunch of women in tights kicking their legs in the air got him going better. “Oh, that’s marvelous!“ he drawl in his deep Southern voice. “ That’s just marvelous.“ .
I love Thanksgiving because of the food. I love getting up early and watching the parade and cooking the food and dancing with the Rockettes. Makes it more fun to cook if you‘re dancing. Bon Appetit outdid themselves this year with their pick and choose Thanksgiving feasts. I handed the magazine to Groom in October and said, You pick it. We’ll cook it. He chose well. Pancetta Sage Roast Turkey. Brussels Sprouts Hash with Caramelized Shallots, Roast Fingerling Potatoes on Piperade, Cranberry Apple Relish, Three Mushroom Stuffing with Rosemary Olive Bread. Other contributions to the meal included Apple Cranberry Pie and Pecan Pie for dessert, brought from Athens, Ga with a disclaimer…but they were divine…along with Roasted Pears and Crème Fraiche. My brother brought 2006 Alvarinho Trahadura from Portugal to have with dinner along with the usual Louis Tete Beaujolais Villages, what I like to call the House Red around here. And of course, Sister Shubert stayed up all night baking the rolls for us. Paramedics were on call in case we fell out during the meal.
Plumgood arrived Tuesday with Ms Bird, a beautiful 16 pound Bell and Evans all natural turkey. And did she come to a good end. The turkey was a standout. The diced pancetta and fresh herbs and garlic and shallots whooshed together in the Cuisinart and then spread in the cavity of the turkey plus you get your fingers between the meat of the bird and the skin and rub this butter all over it…I was this bird’s best friend by the time I finished rubbing this butter all over it. I don’t have a turkey rack but I managed to improvise with an old trick of my mothers…I cut up carrots, celery, onion, fennel and parsnips and put it in the bottom of the pan and set Ms. Bird on top. Then added two cups or so of turkey stock the recipe called for. She cooked exactly 3 hours at 325 degrees and I basted her with the juices from the pan.
I have a list of words, mostly to do with cooking, that I can’t stand. They make me crazy. Moist heads the list. Always has. That is an awful word. Your mouth looks weird when you say it. Of course, I haven’t come up with anything as descriptive as it yet, but that doesn’t mean I won't. I hate to use a word that I am not fond of when I describe Ms. Bird…but the M word is what she was. Moist and tender…two days later…still moist.
Now Ms. Bird fed our family of 10 quite well Thanksgiving night. Since then, she has fed us sandwiches, stand up snacks in front of the fridge, she has made turkey stock, but last night she came to a fine end as Turkey Chili by none other than the King of the Stockpot, Groom.
Topped with a bit of crème fraiche because….well, she deserves crème fraiche. And it is even better on the second day.
An off the cuff recipe.
One left over turkey, covered with water and a big onion, carrot, celery, parsnip, parsley stems thrown in for good measure. Bring to boil and let it rock for an hour or so to get good turkey stock.
Take out of stock pot and remove all meat from bones and chop. Put in Dutch oven with kidney beans, black beans,, cannellini beans and several cans of diced tomatoes. Season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Tbsp ancho chili powder and tablespoon of chipotle chili powder. Let cook an hour and serve topped with crème fraiche.
A noble outcome for a fine bird.