November: U.S. Thanksgiving Day (Fourth Thursday in November)
Gobble gobble! Many Americans traditionally gobble up turkey on Thanksgiving Day. The famous fowl graces the table as the centerpiece and is surrounded by other stereotypical side dishes, such as stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberries, bread rolls and pumpkin pie. Some people feel pressured to prepare a picturesque turkey with all the trimmings. Perhaps that is why Islander jokes it is not in their marriage contract for her to cook the turkey at Thanksgiving. In our home, Highlander is in charge of making the meal for this major holiday. He keeps things basic (no brining—just baking) and the turkey turns out to be terrific and tasty! We like all the leftovers, too, which means we can take a break from cooking for a few days and spend more time watching football, shopping the sales or relaxing with loved ones and guests.
We thank God for a bounty of blessings! Happy Thanksgiving to all of our family, friends and fans of HI Cookery.
(Adapted from Reynolds Oven Bags)
- Turkey, thawed
- Oil or butter
- Salt and pepper to taste (we also sprinkle a little garlic powder)
- 1 tablespoon flour, if using an oven bag (we used Reynolds brand)
Thaw the frozen turkey in the refrigerator a few days before Thanksgiving. Rinse with water and remove any neck and giblet packaging from the interior/cavity. Rub the skin with oil or butter. Generously season with salt and pepper or other favorite herbs and spices. Secure the wings with toothpicks and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
Put the turkey in an oven bag dusted with flour to keep the meat moist and to prevent it from sticking. Tie the bag then insert a meat thermometer into the turkey. Place in a large roasting pan. Cut a few slits in the bag to allow steam to vent. Bake at 350 degrees F in a preheated oven, according to the size and weight of the turkey:
- 12-16 pounds = 2 – 2 ½ hours
- 16-20 pounds = 2 ½ – 3 hours
- 20-24 pounds = 3 – 3 ½ hours
The turkey is cooked when the meat thermometer reads 180 degrees F. During the last 15 minutes of cooking time, carefully remove or cut the bag from the turkey (beware of escaping steam and splattering liquids). Continue to cook until the skin turns golden brown. Remove from the oven. Let stand for another 15 minutes. Place the turkey on a platter. Carve and serve.
- The date of Canadian Thanksgiving Day is the second Monday of October.
- We personally do not cook or eat the giblets that are included in the turkey package. But our parents used to chop them up finely to add flavor to giblet gravy made from turkey drippings.
- If using stuffing in the turkey, add another half an hour to the total cooking time.
- Our turkeys turn out tanned now but when Highlander started cooking them in our early years of marriage, they were a bit albino-looking!
- We placed our turkey on a platter lined with lettuce leaves. Then we garnished it with fresh parsley and fruits that we had on hand for the final food photo above.
- Try our turkey cookies made with Oreos for a unique Thanksgiving Day dessert or decoration.
- We sometimes volunteer serving turkey meals to the poor at Thanksgiving-themed community gatherings organized by churches and charitable organizations. Please consider donating your time, talents and/or treasure to help those who are less fortunate during the holidays.