Last minute turkey fests are always fun. My family didn't decide to have Thanksgiving dinner until one and a half days before we actually wanted to have it. Since I'm the one who cooks the holiday meal, I thew together a menu and off we went to buy everything we needed, including our 79¢/lb bird.
The turkey was a decent 13 pounder (the largest that was left at the store) and it was F R O Z E N solid. After some emergency Google-ing the night before, I decided that I'd defrost it in a cold water bath (chest cooler in the garage) overnight since it was going to be around 4 degrees Fahrenheit anyways.
I would normally prep and make ahead a lot of the dishes, but since it was only for 5 people I decided to just wing it 'cause I couldn't really be bothered. Especially with Tank being all sick girl etc. It worked out well though- I got to sleep in! All the side dishes were made to be destined for the oven, save for the gravy and mashed potatoes.
I could have bought canned cranberry jelly, but making it is so simple and I like adjusting the sugar/flavours so why not make it from scratch. I threw the cranberries in a sauce pan heated to med-high, added half a cup of water, sugar to taste, a couple slices of orange peel and a dash of cinnamon. Then simmered it until most of the cranberries burst and it was a good jammy consistency. It took all of 5 minutes.
After the turkey was defrosted, I cleaned it, dried it and preheated the oven to 450F convection. It was then injected with a mixture of chicken broth and seasonings, I put some aromatics (onion, half an orange, garlic, fresh rosemary and thyme) in the cavity and rubbed oil all over it then topped it off with salt and pepper.
I set it on top of a chunky mirepoix along with some halved potatoes and let it come to room temperature.
Once I shoved it in the oven (along with the foiled wrapped sweet potatoes), it got cooked at 450F for 15 minutes un-tented, then I turned the temperature down to 325F convection and let it cook for another 3 hours and 20 minutes, turning it every 45 minutes or so to ensure it was being cooked evenly.
During the last 40 minutes, in went the Brussels sprouts/peppers, dressing and mashed potatoes that needed to get warmed up. I also got a roux started for the gravy. The turkey rested for 20 minutes then got broken down, put on a platter and at this point, the rest of the goodies were ready too.
Simple table set up. My dad got his hands on a turkey leg before I even got to snap a picture of my hard work!
Turkey dressing- from a box. I cheated, but I did add in celery, apples and carrots
Roasted potatoes- olive oil, paprika, cayenne, s & p, granulated garlic, onion flakes and nutritional yeast
Mashed potatoes (not shown)- boiled potatoes, roasted garlic, fresh chives and cashew cream*
*cashew cream is made from blending soaked cashews with water. I prefer it to soy, almond or any other dairy alternatives, because it's so mild in flavour. If gives whatever you use it in a really creamy
All the side dishes were made vegan! Rich had yummy meatless scallopine cutlets by PC Blue Menu with a mushroom gravy. They're so tasty, I usually sneak a couple of bites myself.
Here's what my plate looked like with a little bit of everything! The entire turkey was super juicy and tender. We finished our meal with homemade apple crisp and an optional scoop of butter peacan ice cream. No one got food poisoning and even though it was super last minute, everything came together at the end! Happy Thanksgiving!