Monday, December 12, 2011

a heritage Thanksgiving

In addition to the usual Thanksgiving festivities with family over the long holiday weekend, we have started a tradition of making a Thanksgiving dinner with friends. This year, we decided to order a heritage breed turkey from a local source. Was it the most expensive turkey I've ever seen? Yes. Was it the most delicious turkey I've ever eaten? Hands down, yes. We named her Eunice, since I've always felt it important to name the animal when you get up close and personal in her business, so to speak.

Our turkey was pastured and was able to run around outside and exercise, hence the higher proportion of dark meat. This is opposed to traditional turkeys which are bred artificially since they can no longer physically mate due to their breast size and inability to walk around their confinement cages. No hormones or antibiotics, no added saline. (Traditional poultry is often injected with saline for flavor, but you also pay for that salt water in your price per pound, making it not as cheap per pound of meat as you might think.)

Mark made the turkey last year, and since he was doing it again this year, I asked him to make Eunice dance.

All gussied up and ready to go.

We use Cooks Illustrated's cranberry molasses glaze preparation instead of the traditional herbs and brown gravy. It is amazing. 

Eunice being admired by Amber.

More gratuitous turkey shots, and Mark wearing my apron.

The glaze and glisten on this turkey was just beautiful. 

All the while Eunice was cooking, we prepared some other dishes. 
Sausage cornbread stuffing. Verdict? Delicious.

Brulee sweet potatoes. So yummy, especially with the earthy taste of fresh sweet potatoes against the sweet crunch of the nut and sugar topping.

Red kuri squash from Clarion River Organics. Hands down the best squash I've ever eaten. (So good we bought 5 for the root cellar when we saw them again.)

Roasted brussels sprouts with shallots and vinaigrette in the foreground and homemade garlic bread knots in the bowl behind.

We also had some great white wine that Anthony picked out, and took our first taste of ice wine at dessert in teeny tiny appertif glasses from Mark's aunt.
Definitely an amazing meal. I'd make any of the dishes again, including dessert, which you can read about on my other blog, once upon a cupcake.

I'm really proud that we were able to use as many local ingredients as possible, and especially that we were able to get a heritage turkey. We could taste the difference 100% and it was yet another affirmation that a local and sustainable diet is worth the time and effort.

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