Sandra’s Thanksgiving Turkey

“I have been making this turkey for about 10 years now! We have experimented with everything from brining, to pressure cooking, to frying — you name it. And this, hands down, is always a winner. The cheesecloth and wine idea was adapted from an old Martha Stewart recipe, but over the years I have tweaked this enough — like adding crumbled bacon — that I can now call it my own. Oh, and if you want a specific wine suggestion I will say that last year I used a Gewürztraminer and it was so yummy that I am using it again!” – Sandra, Twin Marketing

Ingredients

  • One 18-20 pound fresh whole turkey, giblets and neck removed from cavity (freeze for future use)
  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
  • One 750-ml bottle dry aromatic white wine. Alsace works nicely.
  • Veggie broth to stretch the butter/wine mixture if needed
  • 2-3 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • Root veggies to line the pan: carrots, celery, onions
  • Onions and lemons quartered and herbs to stuff the cavity (sage & thyme)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 lb. thick sliced cooked bacon crumbled (optional, for garnish)
  • Parsley minced

Directions

  • Rinse turkey with cool water and dry with paper towels. Let stand for 2 hours at room temperature.
  • Place oven rack on lowest level and preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Combine melted butter and white wine in a saucepan on the stovetop.
  • Fold a large piece of cheesecloth into quarters and cut it into a 17-inch, 4-layer square. Immerse the cheesecloth in the butter and wine; let soak.
  • Place turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack in a heavy metal roasting pan. If the turkey comes with a pop-up timer, remove it; an instant-read thermometer is a much more accurate indication of doneness. Fold wing tips under turkey.
  • Sprinkle some of the salt and pepper inside turkey and stuff with onion, lemon and herbs. Tie legs together loosely with kitchen string. Fold neck flap under and secure it with toothpicks.
  • Rub turkey with the softened butter (go between the skin and meat on the breasts) and generously salt and pepper. Take care to get into all the crevices.
  • Lift the cheesecloth out of liquid, and squeeze it slightly, leaving it very damp. Spread damp cheesecloth evenly over the breast and as far down the sides of the turkey as you can get it.
  • Place turkey, legs first, in the oven and cook for 45 minutes at 450°F. (If your turkey won’t fit legs first, place it sideways, but remember to rotate it a few times.) Using a ladle, baste cheesecloth and exposed parts of turkey with butter and wine mixture.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and continue to cook for 2 ½ more hours, basting every 30 minutes and watching pan juices. If the pan gets too full of juices, spoon out excess and reserve for gravy.
  • After the third hour of cooking, carefully remove and discard cheesecloth. Turn the roasting pan so that the breast is facing the back of the oven (unless you’re cooking sideways) and baste turkey with pan juices. If there are not enough juices, continue to use butter and wine. The skin gets fragile as it browns, so baste carefully. Cook 1 more hour, basting after 30 minutes.
  • After the fourth hour of cooking, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest parts of the thigh and breast, but do not touch bone. The deepest part of the THIGH temperature should reach 170-175°F. If not to temp then baste turkey, return to oven, and cook another 20 to 30 minutes.
  • When ready, gently transfer turkey to a clean pan lined with foil and wrap it nicely allowing some air to escape so it doesn’t keep “cooking” too much. Let the turkey rest before carving for anywhere from 1½ to 2½ hours.
  • While the roasting pan is still hot, discard the root veggies and drain the pan liquid into a fat separator. Place pan over low flame and add flour while whisking. Whisk to create a roux and brown to your liking, anywhere from Burnt Sienna to Dark Chocolate. Then, add the juices from the fat separator with any wine and butter mixture. Whisk until well combined and pour into a glass container to reserve for garnishing. (It will separate, so mix it up again prior to serving.)
  • When the turkey is carved, use the gravy/pan concentrate to pour all over the carved bird letting it soak into all the meat. Then serve with Williams Sonoma gravy base on the side for folks who want more gravy.

Carving tips:

  • Remove as much skin as you can and slice up the removed skin. Broil it with the cooked bacon to add even more crispiness.
  • When carving the breast, take the whole breast off the bird first and then cut the breast on the bias. It’s much tenderer that way.
  • Once the bird is carved and placed on the platter with pan concentrate or gravy is poured, sprinkle the whole platter with crispy turkey skin and/or bacon and garnish with parsley for some color and present.

Cranberry Sauce

“My mom adapted this recipe but doubled up the Gran Gala and added zest to make it her own. You’ll never make cranberries out of a can again!” –Sandra, Twin Marketing

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of cranberries (one 12 oz bag)
  • ½ cup of orange juice
  • ¾ cup of Gran Gala Orange Liqueur
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of orange zest to cook
  • 2 tablespoons of orange zest to garnish

Directions

  • Combine cranberries, orange juice, sugar, Gran Gala Liqueur, and orange zest in a heavy saucepan.
  • Cook over medium heat until cranberries soften and begin to pop.
  • Remove from heat then cool, cover, and chill.
  • When ready to serve, place in decorative bowl and garnish with remaining orange zest.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and White Wine Cream Sauce

“I make this for my family every year for the holidays. People used to say they didn’t like Brussels sprouts and now they love this dish so much most of the time I have to double it!” –Asenette, Twin HR

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds of Brussels sprouts cut in in half or quarters (depending on size)
  • 1  medium yellow onion thinly sliced
  • ½ pound of thick cut bacon
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter
  • Dry white wine (good quality)
  • ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Cook bacon until brown and crispy. Once done, remove bacon from pan and place on a plate to cool down. Keep bacon drippings in the pan. (Remove some bacon drippings if you feel there is too much for the next step.)
  • Add cut Brussels sprouts and thinly sliced yellow onion to the pan with remaining bacon drippings and sauté for 20 minutes or until brussels sprouts and onions are browned and crispy.
  • Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  • Add dry white wine and deglaze the bottom of the pan to pick up all the remaining browned bits from the Brussels sprouts and onions. (Use as much wine as you like as long as the bottom of the pan is deglazed).
  • Add butter to pan and cover to cook for 10 minutes.
  • Drizzle Brussels sprouts with heavy whipping cream.
  • Chop cooked, cooled bacon and sprinkle on top of the brussels sprouts. Serve from the pan or transfer to a festive serving dish.

 

Memorable Gravy

“I adapted this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa and removed the heavy cream and added extra cognac! The result is so tasty, you’ll practically want to drink it!” –Michael, Twin 4th Generation

Ingredients

  • ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock plus defatted turkey drippings, heated
  • 2 tablespoons Pierre-Ferrand Memorable Cognac

Directions

  • Add chicken stock to defatted turkey drippings, whisk to incorporate drippings, and heat in a saucepan.
  • In another large (10 to 12-inch) sauté pan, cook butter and onions over medium-low heat for 12 to 15 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Don’t rush this step; it makes all the difference when the onions are well-cooked.
  • Sprinkle flour into the pan, whisk in, and add the salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the hot chicken stock mixture, Cognac and cook uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes until gravy has thickened.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve. Enjoy!

Bourbon Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 sweet potatoes peeled and sliced into ½ inch thick rounds
  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
  • ½ cup of bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter an ovenproof gratin or casserole dish.
  • Arrange the sweet potato slices in the prepared baking dish and season generously with salt and pepper.
  • In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, bourbon, and syrup and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as the sauce begins to boil, pour it over the arranged sweet potatoes in the baking dish.
  • Bake at 350°F, turning the sweet potatoes and occasionally spooning liquid from the dish back over the top, until the sweet potatoes are tender, 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.

Bourbon Bacon Carrots

“This is such a fun and delicious recipe and it’s easy to make, too! I make it every holiday season! “

–Mario, Twin Retail

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of baby carrots
  • 3 slices of thick cut bacon, cut into short strips
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of bourbon (your choice)
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Blanch baby carrots.
  • Cook bacon strips in a skillet until crispy.
  • Add garlic, carrots, brown sugar and bourbon to the skillet with bacon.
  • Cook for 10 minutes, or longer if preferred, at medium to high heat and then simmer for 5 more minutes on low heat.

Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve and enjoy!