Thanksgiving Blessings


I’ve already conceded defeat and the Detroit Lions don’t start playing for another hour.

Happy Thanksgiving all! It’s been a busy morning here at Chez Emptywheel, in part because our awesome meat farmers can’t seem to raise turkeys that, after slaughter, weigh under 20 pounds. (The pic from the right is from 2011; I visited our turkey when it was growing this year when our farmers married each other after Love Won this year, but I didn’t take pictures of things like growing turkeys…)

So I conceded to cooking the stuffing outside the bird, something I rarely do. I just wasn’t sure I could get the whole damn thing cooked any other way.

Hopefully the Lions will prove better able to face adversity today than I was.

Please provide your favorite leftover turkey recipe in comments!

As old-timers likely know, my schtick at Thanksgiving is to try, as much as possible, to serve only MI products, which is surprisingly easy to do. Our turkey and bacon (for more on that read this post) comes from Crane Dance. Our sugar comes from MI beet farmers. Our veggies come from the Hams and about 4 other farmers who are regularly at the Farmer’s Market. Our milk comes from Hillhof (though I also already lost out on the weekly scramble for their all-too-rare cream). Our wine comes from 2 Lads and other Northern Michigan wineries (though several years of weird weather is making things really tough up there).

But I was at a bit of a loss loss on flour for my pumpkin pie crust. I might have just used the organic all purpose flour (from MN) I normally use for pies and all else, but I’m overdue a trip to Ann Arbor to get a 50 pound bag and even that’s running low. I kept thinking longingly of the stone ground wheat pastry flour I bought years ago from Nashville, MI, but I had looked months ago and they seemed to be defunct. So boy was I pleased when, a week ago, the Jennings Bros showed back up at the Market out of the blue, with meat, but also with that stone ground organic flour I used years ago. Only it’s no longer the “Jennings Brothers,” but in fact a daughter, taking over the flour business. She told me she and her parents had had a long discussion about how much to charge because they didn’t remember; when asked I wasn’t sure either (but she gave me a deal for being a return customer!) The flour is a bit tough to work with (yes, stone ground pastry flour is almost a contradiction of terms). But it all worked out, and if past pies are any indication, the whole wheat of the crust will add a wonderful nuttiness to the pumpkin.

It’s been an increasingly crazy time in the scary wide world. So today is a great time to relax with family and remember what matters.

Thanks to you all for joining in the emptywheel community. And may you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


37 replies
  1. Petrocelli says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

    In honor of the changes, year over year in Canada, I’m adding to your feast Lamb Kabobs, Vegetable Biryani(for the Vegans, you know who you are) and ‘Liberal’ doses of Crown Royal Harvest Rye.

  2. John Casper says:

    Thanks, Marcy.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    In case any Lions fans missed it,
    @BobMcGinn The #Lions just announced the hiring of Ernie Accorsi as consultant in their GM search. He assisted Bears and Panthers in recent years.

    • Elliott says:

      A father’s family tradition — and of course it’s made with the carcass. Happy Thanksgiving to all you crazy wheelers.

  3. scribe says:

    “Clunk” goes the upright. Fly, Iggles, Fly.
    Can’t see what’s so hard about cooking the turkey. Low and slow: 300 and hours. Salt and pepper the outside. In the cavity, salt and pepper, then put a stalk of celery, a small onion quartered, a couple small carrot pieces, maybe some thyme on the branch. Truss the ankles, flip the wingtips under the back and pin or tie. Put the bird on a rack inside the roasting pan so there’s a bit of air space – maybe 1/2 inch – between the bird and the pan itself. I use one of those little mesh racks you use to let cakes cool on. Start with the breast up. Turn 180 around the head-butt axis every hour. I figure 4-5 hours for a 10 pounder, longer for a bigger bird. When the thigh joint (hip, that is) wiggles freely, it’s time. A good check – poke through the skin inside the thigh and check the color of the juice – clear and tan-yellow = done. The skin will be nice and crispy, too. If you want to gussie it up, you can paint the skin every hour when you turn it. Try a mixture of cider, cider vinegar, honey, maybe a little soy, some garlic powder. Be imaginative.
    In other words, this is the recipe for 5-hour duck adapted to the bigger bird.
    Or you can do like I am this year – get invited to the neighbors’ and bring a couple sides.
    Nice run by Abdullah (21) for the Kitties.

    • Peterr says:

      I smoke it on the grill — roughly 12-15 minutes per pound, depending on how low and slow I want to do it. No need for turning and basting – just keep adding wood chips for smoke and charcoal for heat as needed. Beyond the delightful taste, cooking like this also frees up a lot of space in the kitchen for cooking other stuff. (Anything I can do to make room for Mrs Dr Peterr to make more pies is a very good thing!)
      All should be ready in about an hour . . . and it smells delicious!

      • JohnT says:

        Not doing one this year (have to work) but that’s the way to go if you want a turkey that tastes smoked
        I use Lazzari Mesquite briquettes. You need a soup pot big enough to hold the turkey; aluminum foil to wrap the bird in; a big enough charcoal grill; and about an inch of water in the bottom of the soup pot to keep it from drying out
        Takes about as long as you said
        Happy T-Day to all
        PS Go Bears

      • scribe says:

        That’s the way you do it, if you want smoked turkey.
        Another way, if it’s a year in which the Lions game stinks, is to set up – with proper safety precautions – a turkey fryer in the back yard. This spectacle will draw most, if not all, of the men in the neighborhood. These are guys who would have been watching the football game if it were any good, and because of a bad game are wandering around underfoot getting in the way in the kitchen and elsewhere. Watching the hot oil bubble and flow over the turkey is mesemerizing in the same way Mulder could not look away from the sight of Homer Simpson running on a treadmill, waves propagating in his flab.
        This year, of course, the Lions game does not “stink” in the normal way. The Iggles are sucking bigtime, but there’s plenty of scoring to keep the crowd in front of the tv.

  4. scribe says:

    Cooking the stuffing outside the bird is the only way to go.
    And in my house, that’s where the bacon goes, too.

    • P J Evans says:

      One year, way back, Sunset magazine had a recipe for turkey where the stuffing got put in the pan around the bird after the bird got turned over. That way the stuffing got the rest of the turkey juices, and graded from moist to dry in the pan. (They also did a carving-the-bird thing where you left the legs and wings on, and sliced through them. Worked pretty well, but you don’t get the big wings and legs in the leftovers.)

    • emptywheel says:

      He did once, but Megatron didn’t catch it. He was uncertain to play with an injury of unknown provenance.

      But if he acts as a decoy while Riddick gets open, I’ll take it.

  5. Bitter Angry Drunk says:

    Vikings fan prayer of thanks: At least we’re not Lions’ fans, thank gawd.

    The best of holidays to all who produce and frequent this indispensable blog.

  6. emptywheel says:

    Tho that play made it clear how much Megatron has lost speed. Defender easily had closing speed on him.

    • scribe says:

      The comments on that article are hilarious.
      And, no, if I were an NFL owner I would not give Chip Kelly the time of day, nor any money or entrée to my franchise. This guy is b-a-d BAD. He makes Ray Handley (who has not had a single NFL job since the Giants fired him) look good.

      • bmaz says:

        Well, there is one, and only one, NFL team that might should think about Chip Kelly. The Titans, who have the ultimate Chip Kelly QB, Marcus Mariotta.

  7. scribe says:

    While making a quick run to get some leeks, heard some interesting commentary on the car radio. The game-callers concurred in one’s statement that Mrs. Ford firing a couple people had really lit a fire under the Lions’ collective butt and they’re playing a lot more like the team people thought they could be.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yep. As I keep bitching about on Twitter, all the assholes in Detroit who said a girl couldn’t own a team have thus far been proven wrong.

      Who knew? Maybe the Firestones are just stronger stuff than the Fords.

      • bloopie2 says:

        Along your the lines of “You Go, Detroit Girls!”, I will give special thanks for the ladies in my life, without whom I would be so much less (and so much more poorly fed, also). Happy Thanksgiving to all, ladies and gents alike. And how about those first two games – Lions and Panthers nicely triumphing. Let’s hope the Bears can follow suit.

  8. scribe says:

    Ouch. Disney filed a 10k late yesterday afternoon, possibly after the markets closed. In it they reveal that, among others losses, ESPN lost 7 million subscribers (from 99 to 92 million) in the last 2 years.
    This is what happens when (figuratively) fellating King Roger the Clown and his entourage goes hand in hand with otherwise crappy programming.

  9. rosalind says:

    living in P.S.T. and having a late Turkey Day Dinner = hours of agony salivating over everyone’s food p0rn pics and posts.
    sooo hungry for dinner.
    so far away.

  10. orionATL says:

    a very, very enjoyable story. for some reason reading this little jewel of a phrase made me feel happy:

    “showed back up at the market”.

  11. klynn says:

    Hello to my old friends…Hope everyone is well and had a great thanksgiving. EW, we had a local, heirloom Turkey this year in honor of you and covered it in locally sourced bacon in honor of you! Hope you are all well. I miss contributing to the research and dialogue here. Lurking is my go-to these days due to a family health concern. Take care.

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