Thanksgiving and Turkey was not part of my life growing up in a West African country. We had our own traditions like the annual harvest celebration, which celebrates bountiful harvest and fishing seasons which may be close to Thanksgiving.
First Thanksgiving Turkey
My first year in New York City, I was faced with cooking a thanksgiving meal. I am a great cook, if I must say so my self, so it did not take a lot of hassle to prepare the first year's thanksgiving meal.
I cooked the turkey just as most recipes said to do it, along side with a few sides. It was came out nice, well browned and could make the cover of a cooking magazine but like most turkeys, the breast and most of the meat inside was bland, you had to add some sauce to be able to enjoy it.
Lets the Thanksgiving Games Begin.
The next year was game on. I had to add some twists to it, to make it mine. I knew best how to cook with fresh herbs and famous African spices, so from them on it was all my way till now. I started with roasting on a roasting pan and ended up roasting on an oven pan with the rack which was flat, that kept the back of the bird flat for a platter but still drained all the juices.
Well, 2 days ago, the day before Thanksgiving, i posted on Facebook I was going to a marinate my turkey and a friend asked me if I was just using butter. I jumped to my feet and said no but then got a light bulb moment and decided to live blog on facebook, my process og marinating. It was such a fun process. It took much longer to get my marinating done because I had to stop to keep taking pictures with my cell phone to post.
After it was all done, I had so much material I decided to blog on Active Rain to bring it all together. So here we go.
All fresh ingredients except Anise seeds
Today, I had to substitute my habaneros with chile de arbol because they were out at the store
Blend all fresh ingredients with a little bit of olive oil and water till smooth
I have to add the chile after when I am adding the salt be cause I substituted the habaneros
Add salt to taste, you will not add salt to the bird again, so the sauce should taste just as you want it
Spicy and Good to eat all by itself. It's about 35 oz or a little over 4 cups when done.
Use a brush to spread the blended seasoning inside the turkey.
Stuff the cavity with fresh herbs mixed with the seasoning and fresh peeled ginger root (i used basil and rosemary because that is all I had - did not shop early)
Fun step, you get to stab without going to jail
Use a small knife to create holes big enough to push the garlic through, the skin will cover the garlic so push all the way into it.
NOTE: Cut and push garlic through immediately, I had to stop to take pictures
Spread the seasoning, start with the back and work your way around it
Put some though the knife slots you made earlier. Inject the turkey if you have a big enough needle for the blended spices.
Prep a pan
I use the oven pan with the rack so water can drain the whole night and just the seasoning is left to marinate the turkey.
Almost ready for the fridge to marinate all night long. Wrap the whole thing with foil
Cover every part to prevent drying in the fridge
Put the wrapped turkey in the fridge for about 24 hours.
I take it out at least an hour before to get to room temperature
Deep Frying Turkey
I deep fry mine using the Butterball Turkey Fryer, because it is electric and I don't have to worry about gas and oil.
Roasting Tip for Thanksgiving Turkey
If you want to roast in the oven, my old trick was put it in the oven STILL all covered with foil at 250 degrees for 8 to 10 hours (usually from 11pm) everyone wakes up to the smell in the morning.
Then about 2 hours to time to serve, take off foil except breast and thighs and increase to 350 to full brown.
Then remove the foil completely about 30 mins to done to allow the breast and thighs time to brown.
Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.