OPINION: Treat holiday guests with glazed Thanksgiving turkey

I certainly have a lot to be thankful for and I will make time to reflect how grateful I am for that which I have

For those of you who have to work, I suspect you are looking forward to a long weekend.

And, for some, that’s all it is: a long weekend.

For others, besides being a long weekend, it is time to give thanks.

Thanksgiving is a legal holiday observed annually in the U.S. on the fourth Thursday of November.

In Canada, Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday in October.

Most people celebrate Thanksgiving by gathering with family or friends for a holiday feast. Thanksgiving was first celebrated by pilgrims in colonial New England in the early 17th century.

Its actual origin, however, probably traces to harvest festivals that have been traditional in many parts of the world since ancient times.

Today, Thanksgiving is mainly a celebration of domestic life, centered on the home and family. I believe it was the pilgrims who first started the turkey tradition at Thanksgiving.

So the poor ol’ turkey loses lots of kin this weekend in Canada. Some people have their traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, some Sunday and, of course, Monday.

Read More: Brining a turkey an art in itself

There are others who would have ham as the main course, or sometimes a nice big, fat goose or plump home grown chicken.

I certainly have a lot to be thankful for and I will make time to reflect how grateful I am for that which I have, and for that I am blessed.

A friend of my mother’s gave me this recipe some years ago and I just found it last month:

Glazed Thanksgiving Turkey

• 2 cups apple cider

• 2 tbsp fresh thyme

• 2 tbsp fresh marjoram

• 1 lemon-zest only

• 3/4 cup of butter

• 14-pound turkey (giblets reserved if you wish)

• 2 cups onion and one cup each of carrot and celery, chopped

• 2 cups of chicken stock along with some reserve chicken stock

• 3 tbsp flour

• 1 tsp fresh thyme and one small bay leaf

• 1 tbsp of apple brandy (straight brandy or apple juice will also work)

Boil apple cider and maple syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and mix in 1/2 of the thyme and marjoram and all of the lemon zest.

Add the butter and whisk until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until cold.

Preheat oven to 375F degrees.

Place oven rack in the lowest third of oven. Wash and dry turkey. Place turkey in a large roasting pan. Slide hand under skin of the breast to loosen breast skin. Rub 1/2 cup of the maple butter mix under the skin of the breast. You can stuff the turkey at this point. Rub 1/4 cup of the maple butter mixture over the outside of the turkey. Tie legs of turkey together. Arrange the chopped onion, chopped celery and chopped carrot around the turkey in the roasting pan. If desired the neck and giblets may be added to the vegetables. Sprinkle the remaining thyme and marjoram over the vegetables and pour the chicken stock into the pan. Roast turkey at 375F for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350F, and cover turkey loosely with foil.

Continue to roast until very tender, basting occasionally with pan juices. About three to four hours unstuffed, four to five hours stuffed. Put the turkey on a platter and cover with foil. Reserve pan mixture for gravy.

If you wish to have gravy here’s a neat way to make it.

Strain pan juices into a measuring cup. Add enough chicken stock to make three cups.

Transfer liquid to a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Mix three tablespoons of the reserved maple butter mixture with the flour in a small bowl to form a paste.

Whisk paste into broth mixture.

Add the chopped fresh thyme and bay leaf. Boil until reduced and thickened slightly, whisking occasionally. Add apple brandy if desired and season with salt and ground pepper to taste.

This recipe makes enough for about eight people, so judge the amounts accordingly.

Anyway, leftover turkey is good for a couple of days at least.

I hope you have a good Thanksgiving weekend.

Bye for now and GOOOD COOKING!

Ken Wilson is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Advisor.

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