Sometimes I’m reminded of Sandra Lee’s Food Network show Semi-Homemade when I’m making traditional meals or dishes for other people. And as much as she irritates me, I can relate. Making some full-blown primal meals, while partial cheating your way through others seems like my MO.
This Thanksgiving we decided to stay home and have a nice quiet day/night with friends. Only a few people came over, so I made a simple menu consisting of Thanksgiving staples and some other recipes I’ve been wanting to try.
- Smoked Turkey (on the grill)
- Garlic Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Layered Pea Salad
- Green Bean Casserole
- Crab Dip
- Zucchini Chips
This was the first time Zack and I cooked an entire turkey. Needless to say, we made a few mistakes.
First, I bought an 8 pound frozen whole turkey breast and didn’t realize until I unwrapped it. Oops! I didn’t know that was an option! Oh well, the white meat’s my favorite anyway. Second mistake came Wednesday night when I started thinking about how to defrost the turkey. 24 to 48 hours!?!?! Shit. Fortunately, a friend of mine suggested submerging it in the bathtub with warm/hot water. Unfortunately, I left it in the bathtub over night :-/. It was only about 5 hours, but I was worried it spoiled. I wasn’t familiar with how a raw turkey feels and smells – it seemed too gooey. In the end, we decided to cook it anyway*. Since it was going in the smoker, it would be at temperature for a long time and that would hopefully kill any bacteria.
After those mistakes, it was smooth sailing. I seasoned the bird with a mashing of rosemary, thyme, juice of one orange, and Kerrygold butter. We also stuck some lemon and orange slices in the cavity and put it in the smoker. Zack would know more about this, but I’m pretty sure he smoked it for a couple hours and then put it on the grill (grilling with indirect heat) for another few hours. As you can see from the pictures, it turned out AWESOME! It was so juicy and flavorful! I definitely recommend this method for your Thanksgiving turkey next year (minus the bathtub defrost).
The rest of the recipes I’ve linked to above. The layered pea salad is a family recipe adapted over the years. You layer the following: canned peas, carrots, bacon, hard boiled eggs, red onion, and mayo. Ugh, it’s one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving. The crab dip from Nom Nom Paleo was absolutely awesome. It was gone in two seconds. The zucchini chips were a little limp, but I didn’t have the perfect rack to cook them on (I actually used our microwave rack!). The only thing that BOMBED was the garlic sweet potatoes. They didn’t cook fast enough (I allowed 40 min) and when they did, they were chewy. No biggie though, everyone was stuffed after that menu.
How was your Thanksgiving? Did you spend it with friends, family, or both? Did you keep it Paleo/Primal or did you go semi-primal?
*No one got sick!