Italian herbs and spices are the secret to creating a succulent, juicy, and delicious Mediterranean style Thanksgiving turkey!
Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite holiday. It’s pretty much just about being together, remembering our blessings, eating, and well, football. At least at our house it is.
Thanksgiving also means remembering those who are less fortunate than we are. Thanksgiving at my mom’s house usually means new faces every year. There’s always family and a whole bunch of friends who have no family close by. I learned to open my heart and home from my mom. Her philosophy, and now mine is, “cooking for 20 is just as easy as cooking for 4!” So far the count is at 15, but that might change by tomorrow.
The bird I made last week was a version of the Hemingway Bird. But it’s the Jane Austen version. No, I shouldn’t say that, because I decided to make him completely Italian, but I don’t think I want to call him Dante either.
I put together a Mediterranean style Thanksgiving with this Italian seasoned bird.
Italian Style Turkey
- 1 12-15 pound turkey (rinsed, reserve giblets and neck for gravy or your dog.)
- 1 large lemon
- Fresh herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme)
- garlic cloves (peeled, slightly crushed)
- Kosher salt (pepper and olive oil)
- Clean out the bird and reserve the giblets and neck for gravy or your dog.
- Poke holes in a large lemon and stuff inside the cavity of the bird along with fresh herbs. I used rosemary, thyme and oregano along with a couple of cloves of garlic.
- Season the inside with kosher salt, pepper and olive oil.
- Separate the skin from the breast meat and season up under the skin with salt, pepper and olive oil. I usually add a few whole sage leaves and leave them there because it makes a pretty presentation when it’s all roasted.
- Rub the outside of the bird with olive oil and salt and pepper.
- Roast at 325* F. until juices run clear. Usually about 15 minutes per pound depending on your oven. The internal temperature should be 165*F.
Continue the Mediterranean flair with your Thanksgiving meal:
Serve your Italian bird with harvest squash casserole, which is an Italian inspired side dish. If you need a vegetarian entree to go with your meal, don’t forget Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagna. Use olive oil dough to make the Rosemary Bread, which I recommend serving with garlic herb butter.
Then there’s the day after Thanksgiving, creating meals with all of the Mediterranean leftovers.
I am sure that it was a frugal Scotswoman who decided to boil the carcass of an already spent bird to make turkey soup. Why not? Instead of throwing the carcass away after it’s stripped it of its meat and skin, throw it in a crock pot with a couple of coarsely chopped carrots, an onion a couple of bay leaves, some fresh thyme, a clove of garlic and a few whole peppercorns.
Let the whole thing cook overnight. The next morning, let it cool, then strain out all the vegetables and discard them. Save the meat in a separate bowl, then chill the broth. After it’s cold, it’s easier to skim or scrape off the fat.
Turkey Noodle Soup
Saute one chopped onion or one thinly sliced leek (How to clean a leek) in some butter and/or olive oil.
A couple of stalks of celery, sliced
A couple of carrots, sliced
De-fatted turkey stock
Simmer until vegetables are nearly tender. Season with salt and pepper
Add diced or shredded turkey meat. (I added some breast meat to the dark meat)
Noodles…whatever size or kind you want. Cook until noodles are tender.
Garnish with fresh, chopped parsley.