How to Roast a Turkey: Christmas in July
A few days before I turned 29, I made a list of things I wanted to do before I turn 30. I need to keep you updated on my successful completion of these things. One thing on the list was to roast a turkey. When you roast a turkey, though, you need a lot of mouths to feed. So I rallied the troops, and we had Christmas in July!
The cooking began with acquiring a turkey. Whole Foods looked at me like I was crazy. You want a turkey? Yeah, it's July. Good luck. HEB pulled through. And I drove home with this frozen friend beside me last Monday:
For a few days he just chilled in my freezer. (Get it?!)
On Thursday, I moved him to the fridge. I also did some research. Because although I've observed a total of 29 Thanksgivings and Christmases, I still kind of had no idea what I was doing. Granny, you make it look easy!
But my research was pretty intense. I decided to go with all things Pioneer Woman. Because my mom thinks she's the best, and my mom is a pioneer woman in her own right. So it's basically like following a family recipe, right?! I made an iPhone note complete with links.
On Saturday, we had to help his thawing along. He was a little slow to warm up. ;) So he just kinda sat on the counter for awhile.
I named the turkey Jim. Because he looked like a Jim to me.
I spent Saturday afternoon setting the tables, decorating the house for Christmas and then binge watching five episodes of the Astronaut Wives Club. There are only five episodes or else I might have watched more.
I also realized on Saturday that I was going to have to go to the early church service in order to be home in time to put the turkey in. For some reason, this was the moment that made me feel like a real turkey roaster (and also a little like a 1950s housewife except in the wrong decade and without the husband and the children).
So. I did it. I got up Sunday and went to church. Then I had to get home to put the turkey in. Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to actually say that to anyone on Sunday morning. But let's pretend like I did.
Morgan came over at noon. Because novice turkey roasters need back-up. And comedic relief. And someone to blame--just in case.
I don't know if you've ever "removed the giblets," but it is disgusting. All of a sudden I understood why Turkey Jim had been so quiet. He knew what was coming. I found his neck inside of him without a problem, but I was certain there was supposed to be another plastic bag, and it was nowhere to be found. While my hands were covered in turkey juice, Morgan had to google where to find the giblets.
In the neck cavity.
There is another cavity. And it holds the giblets. I'm not sure why the turkey people put the giblets in the neck and the neck in the gut. But they do. And it is counter-intuitive. Thanks to Google, we managed.
[I recently asked my mom what people did before Google. Her response: "We just sometimes didn't know stuff." Oh. That sounds kind of nice, actually.]
At this point, half of Jim's juices ended up in the Ziploc drawer. We're not 100% sure how it happened. But it was rather unfortunate.
After sanitizing the Ziploc drawer, we built Jim a nest out of aluminum foil and a lifter out of kitchen twine. Then we secured him in his disposable roasting pan, and got him into the oven.
While Jim cooked, I made the dressing out of stale bread, which was initially fresh bread that I intentionally left out for two days so that it would become stale. It was all a little odd. But it turned out pretty good! We also prepared the rosemary butter for Jim, boiled the giblets for the gravy and Morgan got things ready to make the green beans. We wore aprons and everything. It was all so very domestic.
Morgan had to go run some errands (which included dropping the dressing off at Katie's because I have one oven, and Jim wasn't a good sharer). While she was gone, it was time to rub Jim down with rosemary butter. This was actually my favorite part. I have always really liked slimy things. Gak (the Nickelodeon stuff). Worms. Raw meat. So smearing butter on half-raw turkey was right up my alley.
Then Jim went back in the oven. Cue a little intermittent basting.
And voila! A roasted turkey.
We had a minor mishap with the gravy because Jim demanded a little too much attention while we should have been focused on the "constant whisking" -- they mean that pretty literally, BTW! We salvaged it. Kinda.
Then we just added the people who added the delicious sides.
They even wore Christmas colors and accessories to humor me.
Here's a funny side-note: I don't really like turkey. But Jim was pretty good. And it's been over twenty-four hours and no one has fallen ill. I'd call it a roasting success!
Later, three of us did dishes. We basically washed every serving dish that I own. They were pretty sure I was indebted to them forever. I told them I would roast a turkey to show them my appreciation. Oh...Wait... We'll call it even.
And there you have it. Christmas in July. An annual tradition. Next year's location: TBD. [#AnywhereButHere]