Thanksgiving has long since come and gone, but I suspect that most of us still have leftovers. I do. I have a little bit of everything in small amounts in the refrigerator to be consumed within the next few days, and ridiculous amounts of mostly turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing in the freezer to be consumed, oh, I don’t know, until next April.
My family loves leftovers. They don't just "love" leftovers. I mean they luuuuurv leftovers. They love leftovers so much that this year, once again, we roasted two turkeys. Sure, roasting two 25 pound turkeys isn’t unusual – if you’re throwing a party for 33 people and each person eats a pound and a half of turkey. Our family Thanksgiving was for 10 gluttonous guests. That is 50 pounds of turkey for 10 people, and I may not be mathematically inclined, but I can figure out that an average of five pounds of turkey per person sounds like a lot more than the three pound lemon herb roast chicken for $6.99 with Club card from the service deli at the local chain ubermarket that lasts for three days. Five pounds of turkey lets you give yourself a barely-legal dose of tryptophan at the dinner table, as well as squirrel plenty away in your secret stash. That's not even taking into account everything else on the table.
Roasting two turkeys for Thanksgiving is not a daunting task. It just takes up oven time and energy because unless you have a ginormous oven, they cannot be done at the same time. My first time roasting two, I put them side by side in the oven, and let’s just say that although the two turkeys fit quite comfortably in the oven at the outset, there was still a faint fragrance of *ahem* smoke lingering the air, even after I had fanned out the kitchen when that damn smoke alarm went off hours earlier. Thank God for southern California. Had I been in freezing, snowy Wisconsin, my guests would have wondered why I had the sliding glass door open to the patio. After that first year, I got smart and now roast the birds in series rather than in parallel. One bird goes in at the calculated hour to make it out of it’s sauna with enough time to re-soak up all its juices for the serving platter, and the second bird goes in right after, roasting while we eat.
This year, as usual, I went through the whole laborious task of brining the night before in a salt, sugar, and spice solution. I washed and chopped what felt like an entire English garden of fresh herbs to make a flavorful paste. I slid my hand into that slimy netherland between meat and skin to spread the herbs evenly on he bird. I gave that bird a full-body, all-butter massage that would have given Kinara a run for their money. But I only went to all that loving trouble for the bird we were going to serve on a silver platter for dinner. The one that was intended to go straight to the freezer bags, I just unwrapped, rinsed, salted, and threw into the oven in about five minutes. I got lazy after that first one. Besides, I had a smaller bird, er, Bunny, to roast.
Much ado about the heiress turkey at the spa, and the one that went au naturel into the oven ended up tasting so much better. *sheesh* The herbed turkey that we ate right away wasn’t bad, but the it was the one that went straight into Ziploc freezer bags that was incredibly tender, deliciously juicy and flavorful. LOL! My sisters, Mom, and sister’s parents-in-law all took theirs home and will eat them with mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy. So far, mine has become turkey Benedict for the day-after brunch and a turkey Jack quesadilla with jalapeno cranberry salsa made from leftover cranberry sauce and sour cream that was originally intended for a cheesecake that was never baked.
Next year, no brine. No basting. I’m drinking beer on the couch with Mom and the boyz, flipping between the Parade and ball games all day long.