Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter {Recipe} {Thanksgiving Dinner Roundup}

When my family gets together for Thanksgiving, we often divide cooking duties, with each family providing one or two dishes. But the host always provides the turkey. So when I decided to host a virtual Thanksgiving Dinner, I signed up to provide the main dish.

I’ve been known to mix things up for Thanksgiving — replacing the typical candied yams with sweet potato soufflé; serving cranberry compote in place of relish; even (once) making oyster stuffing. And my family is (mostly) tolerant of my experiments and exploits.

But you don’t mess with the turkey. You season it. You roast it. You serve it.

So when I saw this recipe in Ina Garten’s How Easy Is That?, I decided I’d better test it out ahead of time to make sure it was “traditional” enough for the Thanksgiving table.

The unique thing about this recipe, and what immediately caught my eye, is the use of truffle butter to season the turkey and keep it moist. I checked several local stores but didn’t find it. I knew I could probably find some at Whole Paycheck, but the closest one is about 45 minutes away. So I did what I always do in these situations: I made my own truffle butter.

I made this turkey for dinner a couple of nights ago, along with a few other recipes I wanted to try out for possible inclusion on the Thanksgiving table (stuffed pumpkin with rice and peas; Indiana persimmon pudding; and stuffing made with buttermilk cottage dill bread). It was without question the best turkey I’ve ever had. The meat was moist and flavorful; the skin salty, crispy, and delicious.

Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter

Ingredients

  • 1 12- to 14-pound turkey, preferably fresh
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces truffle butter, at room temperature
  • Truffle salt
  • 1 yellow or white onion, unpeeled and cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 large head garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme (10 – 12 sprigs)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavity, drain juices from turkey, and pat dry with paper towels. Generously sprinkle cavity with Kosher salt and pepper.
  2. Gently work your fingers (wear gloves if you’re squeamish) between turkey skin and breast meat. Loosen skin of breast, legs, and thighs. Rub about 3 ounces of the truffle butter under skin, covering breast, thighs, and legs. It’s easiest to do this by pushing butter under skin, then rubbing the top of skin to cover meat well.
  3. Place turkey, breast side up, in roasting pan. Stuff cavity of bird with onion, garlic, and 8 sprigs thyme. Tuck wings under body and tie legs with kitchen twine.
  4. Melt remaining truffle butter and brush generously over turkey (use it all). Sprinkle with truffle salt, freshly ground black pepper, and remaining thyme leaves, pulled from stems.
  5. Roast turkey for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until breast meat registers 160°F on a meat thermometer. Cover loosely with foil about halfway through roasting time to prevent skin from overbrowning.
  6. Remove from oven, cover tightly with heavy-duty foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.
  7. While the turkey is resting, skim grease from pan juices (there will be a lot of grease), and thicken the juices to make a delicious gravy.

This turkey is definitely making an appearance on my Thanksgiving table. And I suspect it will be making repeat appearances for years to come.

Caramelized Figs {Recipe}

I recently bought a flat of 24 fresh figs at the market. Figs have a short season, and they are usually quite expensive in Northeast Ohio even when in season, so I was thrilled to find them for a good price. Of course, once I got them home, I had to figure out what to do with them. I scoured the ‘net looking for fresh fig recipes, and as usual, decided in the end to come up with something on my own.

I found a number of recipes for caramelized figs, figs with balsamic glaze, and fig compote. None of them was exactly what I was looking for, so I cobbled together a few recipes and came up with this one.

Caramelized Figs

Ingredients

  • 24 fresh figs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 stick cinnamon, broken into pieces
  • 3 whole cloves

Directions

  1. Wash and drain the figs, then cut off the stem end.
  2. Stand the figs upright in a stock pot. Sprinkle with sugar, then add remaining ingredients.
  3. Cover the pot an allow to sit overnight.
  4. The next day, uncover the pot and heat over medium-high heat until the juice begins to boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the figs have cooked down and the sauce has thickened, about five hours.
  5. Cool in the pot, then transfer to a clean jar and store in the refrigerator. The flavor will continue to develop over several weeks, and the figs will keep in the refrigerator indefinitely

Makes about one quart.

Serve the figs with savory dishes like roasted meats or cheeses, or use to top ice cream or in rice or bread pudding. The rich, spicy flavor of the figs and sauce will put you in mind of the holidays. 

My favorite way to eat them is right out of the container.

Pumpkin Gingerbread {Recipe} {BOM}

Here is an easy, festive pumpkin bread recipe, made special by the addition of lots of ginger. For a real treat, use freshly grated ginger instead of powdered.
 
Pumpkin Gingerbread Crumb
 
INGREDIENTS:

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons ground ginger or 2 tablespoons fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.
2. In a large mixing, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice and cinnamon.
3. In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans.
4. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Still Life with Pumpkin Gingerbread