Thanksgiving is almost upon is and I have a great gluten free, sugar free, lower carb menu for you. I also have a game plan which requires only a little cooking each day for a few days prior to the big event. Thursday you’ll be calm and collected with time to set the table nicely, relax a little before your guests arrive, and enjoy their company because everything is ready and just needs some reheating.
I haven’t yet given you a recipe for the star of the show – the Turkey. So here it is. I make the world’s easiest slow-cooked turkey. It comes out absolutely like you would hope – the white meat is incredibly tender and juicy and the dark meat is perfectly cooked. Every year I get compliments from new guests gushing that this is the best turkey they’ve ever had. There’s no basting, no brining, or even any paying attention to the thing at all. You just put it in the oven, ignore it for many hours, and take it out. There are 2 downsides – you can’t stuff it because it cooks on too low a heat and you can’t eat the skin because it’s tough. If that’s OK with you then trust me on this – the turkey meat will be the best you’ve ever had.
- 1 whole raw turkey
- special equipment required: oven thermometer
- Check the accuracy of your oven's temperature before putting in the turkey: set the oven to 190°, place the oven thermometer in the oven and wait until the oven is fully heated. Look at the thermometer. If it registers too high or low, adjust the temperature setting on your oven accordingly. You want the turkey to cook at no more than 200° and absolutely no less than 180° (or you'll get food poisoning).
- Preheat the oven to 190° and adjust the rack so that the turkey will fit in the oven.
- Remove the giblets and neck from inside the turkey and discard or save for another use. Rinse and place turkey breast side down in the pan. Roast for 35 minutes per pound or until a meat thermometer, inserted into the dark meat, registers 165°. Remove from oven and place turkey on a cutting board. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Pour out the pan juices into a fat separator, if you have one, or a bowl. Separate the juice from the fat. Discard fat (or refrigerate and use for cooking). Pour the pan juices into the already made gravy for extra flavor.
- Carve the turkey in the kitchen and arrange nicely on a platter.
- Note on the timing: Plan ahead! If you're eating dinner at 5:00, 35 minutes per pound for a 15 pound turkey means that the turkey cooks for 8 3/4 hours. It should be ready 30 minutes ahead of time so that it rest and the oven is free for heating and baking the other dishes. That means that the turkey needs to go into the oven at 6:30 am. Figure out the cooking time for the size or your turkey and the start of your meal.
The Game Plan:
Saturday: Start the stock (takes 24 hours to cook), cover and refrigerate.
Sunday: Make cranberries, cover and refrigerate.
Monday: Make the gravy, cover and refrigerate.
Wednesday: Make the stuffing and sweet potatoes but don’t bake until Thursday, cover and refrigerate. Make pie and/or squares, cover and refrigerate.
Thursday: Cook the turkey. Make the cauliflower mashed potatoes, cover and refrigerate. Make whatever green vegetable you’re serving. Bake stuffing and sweet potatoes. Carve turkey. Gently warm gravy on stovetop. Heat cauliflower mashed potatoes on low in the oven just before serving.