Today is Monday. Thanksgiving is Thursday. It’s the perfect day to cook a turkey.
We’re not hosting, this year, but we still need a turkey of our own for sandwiches, soup, and all of the other fun things one does with leftover turkey. Our tradition is to make soup on Friday while decorating the house for Christmas. To make soup, one needs a turkey carcass. To get a turkey carcass, one must roast a turkey.
We’re not going crazy with all of the calorie-laden side dishes – some stuffing, cranberry sauce, and some potatoes will suffice. I hate, loathe, and despise green bean casserole, so we won’t have to worry about that abomination being in tupperware in the ‘fridge becoming a science experiment. I have tried to eat it. I have even made it – exactly as the 1955 recipe states and using fresh green beans, fresh mushrooms – and even making my own french-fried onions. No matter how it has been made – or who has made it – it sucks.
Enough on that.
I normally add a bottle of red wine to the cooking pan when roasting the bird – this year, I opted for white. I didn’t stuff the turkey, either, since I’m going to be breaking it down and freezing most of it.
We usually get a loaf of squishy white bread for a round of turkey sandwiches after the big day. I picked one up at the store – and then put it back. I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it. I figured I’d make my standard James beard white bread when our friend Ann mentioned she was making Julia Child’s white bread. I have most of her cookbooks, so the recipe was easy to find – it’s in Baking With Julia.
- 2 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 7 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/2 stick butter, softened
Add 1/2 cup of the water into a bowl and mix with yeast and sugar til foamy. Let sit for 5 minutes until creamy. Put the yeast mixture, rest of the water and half of the flour into the mixer.
Mix slowly until blended and then add the rest of the flour and the salt. Mix at medium speed for about 10 minutes. Add the soft butter about a tablespoon at a time, mixing until completely incorporated.
Turn dough out on lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball then place in a large buttered bowl. Cover and allow to rise until it has doubled – about 45 minutes.
Butter 2 loaf pans.
Punch down dough, cut in half, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
Roll out into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle.
Fold the dough into thirds and fit into loaf pans seam side down.
Allow to rise again until doubled in size – 30-45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F and put the rack in the center of the oven.
Bake for 35-45 minutes or until browned.
Immediately turn out of pans onto a rack to cool.
The bread was a snap to make – but my damned bread pans stuck – again. I have had these pans forever – maybe longer – and they have been great up until the last three loaves of bread I’ve made. One more try and they’re in the trash.
While the bread was a bit of a fail, the turkey came out great!
As I mentioned, I didn’t stuff it, so it cooked really quick – plus, it was only a 12 pound bird – possibly the smallest I have ever cooked.
Everything is in the ‘fridge, now, and tomorrow I will portion it out, vacuum-seal and freeze some of it and get the soup bits all together. This is so totally stress-free it is almost scary.
On the other hand, I was at the local Wegmans at 11am and talk about stress! People were either rushing through grabbing anything they could see, or wandering aimlessly – with no idea what they were looking for. And it was crowded. I did get my harried cashier to laugh, though, so I consider it a successful trip.
I’m lovin’ retirement!