With my three domestic divas in the kitchen conjuring mouth watering recipes over Thanksgiving, I can say with confidence that we had our best holiday meal ever, ever. We began with a Joyce Farms Heritage Black Turkey, a first for me. Recognized as one of the original American Turkey breeds, Joyce Farms raises these pheasant family cousins on small farms in North Carolina--the old fashioned way--free range, antibiotic free, vegetarian fed, small batch, under a watchful eye. As the preparation begins, I don't care what anyone says--I stuff my bird for the symbiotic effects that the moisture, herbs, and juices marry to create a succulent whole. Trust me, I've done this before.
Trussing the bird with sturdy kebab skewers and kitchen string works easily for me, especially on a big bird like this. Because I use convection and the bird browns rapidly, I drape cheese cloth drenched in butter and protect the bony tips of the wings and drum sticks with foil. Chopped onions beneath the turkey help brown the juices and add flavor to the gravy. I'm a baster, so I pour more melted butter over it approximately every 40 minutes.... And Voila!! There is a great deal of debate regarding basting but old habits die hard. I'm going to have to buck up and try to restrain myself for reasons of comparison.