Thanksgiving Italian Style
An Italian family celebrates Thanksgiving slightly different than other families. Along with the traditional turkey, stuffing and cranberries, we sneak in artichokes, pasta, and meatballs along with excellent desserts other than a pumpkin pie.
Some people would think the turkey would be enough but not us. We have to use the holiday as an excuse to indulge ourselves in our favorite dishes that we don’t make throughout the year.
In an Italian household the turkey better have an attitude or we won’t eat it. By attitude I mean it must be clean, seasoned and well dressed. When you slap on the butter and the turkey slaps you back you know you have a good one.
So the first recipe in this special Thanksgiving edition will focus on the Turkey then we’ll continue on with apps, sides and other dishes. Part two of “Thanksgiving Italian Style” will feature all the Italian stuff.
From my famiglia to yours Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy!
1 Turkey - 14 to 16 pounds
3 sticks of butter, softened
1/2 cups of fresh sage, broken into pieces
1/4 cup of fresh rosemary 1 tsp of poultry seasoning
2 large yellow onion, cut into quarters
6 stalks of celery, cut into 2 inch pieces 6 carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 apple, quartered
1 15oz can of chicken broth
1 cup of water
1 Tbl of salt
1 Tbls of fresh ground black pepper
Remove the giblets and the neck from the cavity. Either set aside to make gravy or discard.
Wash the bird thoroughly inside and out with cold water and pat dry.
Loosen the skin from the breast by placing your fingers under the skin and separating it from the breast meat creating a pocket.
Cream together the butter, sage, rosemary and poultry seasoning.
Place some of the butter mixture under the turkey skin and under the skin of the legs. Save some for basting.
Insert 1 onion, 3 stalks of celery, 3 carrots and the apples into the turkey cavity.
Tie back the legs and wings with string.
Place the remaining vegetables in a shallow roasting pan,
Add the chicken broth and water to the pan
Place the turkey breast side up on top of the vegetables.
Season the turkey with salt and pepper.
Melt the remaining butter in the microwave and brush the entire turkey with the butter.
Loosely cover the turkey with a piece of aluminum foil.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the turkey in the oven and cook approximately 30 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reads 170 to 180 degrees.
Continue basting the turkey with the remaining butter throughout this time.
Remove the foil during the last 45 minutes of cooking to brown the top.
When fully cooked remove the turkey from the oven and let stand for 30 minutes before carving. Reserve the liquid at the bottom of the pan to make the gravy.
Serves 8 to 10 people
2 Tbls of flour
To make the gravy I place the roasting pan on the two burners of the stove. NOTE: Do Not do this if you are using a glass baking dish or it may shatter. If you are using a glass dish then transfer the pan drippings to a saucepan making sure you scrape all the bits and pieces from the bottom of the pan
Remove the carrots and celery and discard or serve with the turkey
Heat the drippings until bubbly while scrapping the bits at the bottom of the pan and reduce to about half.
Reduce the heat and whisk in 2 Tbls of flour until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
Simple Onions, Celery and Sage Stuffing
4 loaves of white bread
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 bunch of celery, finely chopped
2 sticks of butter
1 can of chicken broth
2 tbls of rubbed sage or 1/2 cup of fresh sage leaves broken into pieces.
1 Tbls of poultry seasoning
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
A couple days before cooking, spread all the slices of bread out on a paper towel covered table until they are stale, dry and crisp. This should take at least 2 days. Turn them once after the first day.
The day your going to make the stuffing place the slices of bread a few at a time in a large bowl of warm water.
When the bread absorbs the water, squeeze them dry and place the bread in a separate large bowl.
In a large frying pan, sauté the onions and celery in the butter until tender.
Add the sage, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper and cook for around 2 minutes more.
Add the broth and heat through.
Carefully pour the celery mixture over the bread and mix together thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the stuffing in a glass baking dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the top and sides are crisp.
Note: I don’t like cooking stuffing inside the turkey. I always make it separate.
Serves 8 to 10 people
Fresh Whole Cranberries
3 cups of whole cranberries
1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
3/4 cup of water
Simmer the cranberries and water together until the cranberries are tender.
Add the sugar and cover and cook for around 10 minutes.
Makes 2 cups
My Famous Garlic Mashed Potatoes
6 large white potatoes peeled and cut into pieces
1 bunch of long green onions chopped
3 cloves of chopped garlic
1/4 cup of bacon bits
3/4 stick of butter
1 Tbl of vegetable oil
1/4 cup of milk of whipping cream
1/4 cup of chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Boil potatoes in 4 quarts of water until tender. Sauté onions and garlic for 2 minutes in oil and 1/4 stick of butter.
Drain potatoes and place in a large bowl.
Mix all the ingredients together with an egg beater or Kitchen Aid until potatoes are smooth and fluffy.
These potatoes are so good.
Creamy Green Beans and Mushrooms
1 yellow onion, chopped
10 baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbls of butter
1 Tbls of extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds of fresh string beans
1 cup of chicken broth
1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of fresh grated black pepper
In a large frying pan sauté the onions and mushrooms in the butter until tender.
Add the sting beans and broth to the pan.
Cover and cook until tender. Around 10 minutes
Add the cream and heat through.
Season with salt and pepper.
1 and 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree
3/4 cups of sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of ground ginger
1 tsp of ground cinnamon 1 tsp of all purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup of evaporated milk
2 Tbls of water
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 pastry shell, unbaked
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Using a Kitchen Aid or a hand mixer, mix together the pumpkin puree, sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon and flour.
Mix in the eggs one at a time.
Add the evaporated milk, water and vanilla and mix together 2 minutes more.
Pour the mixture into the pie dish.
Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake around 35 minute more.
Cool down and top with whipped cream
Italian Style Thanksgiving
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