Well, I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving! I checked my archives and apparently last year I was so overcome by turkey that I did not write anything about the meal. (Actually, what really happened is that we went to Charleston right after T-day last year, and I was overcome by South of the Border along the way.) Anyway, enough digression, you can probably guess what my brother (making his first guest appearance here--maybe I should tell him...) is doing in the photo above--yes, that's right! Setting up the fryer for our 3-year-running deep fried turkey tradition. I mean, brined turkey is pretty great, but it's got nothing on the deep fried version. But before we got to that point, there was a lot of prepping of the side dishes...
Like chopping celery and onions for the sausage stuffing...the one downside to deep fried turkey is that you can't really stuff it. Boo. Small sacrifice though!
And here's the stuffing after being packed into a casserole and baked with a splash of turkey broth over it. Not as good as last year's (a bit dry), but, pretty good anyway.
Of course, we had to have cranberry sauce....I love the colors and am always tempted to eat one uncooked because it looks so pretty. After one, I am cured of that particular temptation!
My recipe (such as it is) is super simple--washed cranberries go into a pot with a few spoonfuls of sugar, grated orange zest, and the juice of an orange. Also a splash of water (but not much!). Cook until the berries pop and taste to see if you want more sugar. I like mine mostly tart. And isn't it a gorgeous color? (You'll notice my book in the corner there--I was reading A Suitable Boy while waiting for various things to cook.)
We also roasted up some red potatoes and sweet potatoes, which are always good. I didn't get a photo of the finished potatoes or of the brussels sprouts, which I boiled and then glazed with butter and soy sauce, because by now we were almost ready to eat, the sun had gone down, and the lighting sucked. Also, I was ravenous by now! But let's back up about an hour and go out to where the main action was going on.
Lots of peanut oil coming up to temperature. I don't know why I find that Caution Hot warning so funny. I think it's because this pot was sitting over a giant flame, and, you know, self explanatory?
The turkey rests on this rack with a handle so you can lower it, versus dropping it. Now would be a good time to say that if you are planning on deep-frying a turkey, you should do it outside, probably farther away from your house than where we had the fryer set up. An oven mitt would be a good idea too, as would closed toe shoes (click here to see a photo of my brother frying a turkey in a stylish Doraemon glove a few years ago). Every year you hear about people burning their garages (or houses!) down--seriously. Don't do this inside a building!
This is about 5 minutes in, and you can see the hook I was talking about earlier.
Alright, I didn't get the greatest photo of the whole turkey because it was dark by the time it was done (damn these early sunsets!). But here is a closeup of the yummy, crispy skin (and you can click the link to see the whole bird). Surprisingly, deep fried turkey is not greasy at all, and it is my favorite way to eat it now. Hm, I just realized that I also did not get a photo of the gravy. Oh well, it wasn't that exciting, trust me.
And of course, we had dessert! This might be the first Thanksgiving I've ever had with no pie, but my brother found a recipe for Apple Bread Pudding over at Smitten Kitchen. I sort of wish I had also made a pie, but no doubt my scale will be happy I did not.
And here's the bread pudding out of the oven. I think it could have used slightly more custard (I didn't do the measuring, just the apple chopping) but admittedly, I like my pudding very custardy. Nice flavor, though! (And nice afternoon sunshine.)
Needless to say, we (or at least I) ate more than I should have. But it was sooo good. It was a fairly low key one for us this year, so some of the other stuff I had planned to make (pie! celeriac salad!) did not get made...but fortunately I came home with like, half of a turkey so I think maybe I will have to Thanksgiving v.2 in a couple of days. (And if I blog about it, I promise it will be shorter. Yikes! When did I get so long-winded?) Hope yours was good too!