Have a Friendsgiving Potluck Party
A few years ago my husband and I started a Friendsgiving Potluck Party ritual the weekend before Thanksgiving. We absolutely love it and so do our guests. This year we had the biggest crowd so far with over 30 people in attendance.
Many guests personally told us this party was more enjoyable, more fun, and more delicious than their regular Thanksgiving dinner. (Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone who said that!)
In addition, the compliments were endless for the delicious turkey I cooked for the party. First of all, let me be clear that I have been vegetarian or pescetarian for most of my life. I am grateful for eating meat once in a while. However, I usually choose chicken breast or a fish fillet which are easy to prepare.
Cooking an entire turkey is a ceremony for me. It is not easy, yet I am grateful to acknowledge the living creature it once was, and the nourishment it’s about to be. My inner dialogue of gratitude helps me through the prep work. I also believe it helps make the turkey simply delicious.
Since this occurs but once a year, I want to give it my all! We provide the Friendsgiving turkey. I also cook up a tangy and tasty orange blossom and cranberry sauce with fresh oranges and cranberries. I bake a bounty of candied pecans. And I also make two fresh dairy free and gluten free pumpkin pies from scratch. And finally, from those pie pumpkins, I roast seasoned pumpkin seeds.
What guests bring
Our guests bring a dish of their choice with no specific planning on what dishes will show up. This offers an exciting element of surprise. Fortunately as fate would have it, an array of delicacies are delivered in welcoming arms from salad, to sweet potato dishes, green bean dishes, deviled eggs, vegetarian appetizers, vegan options, sweets and treats, and of course some heavy creamy and cheesy dishes to comfort the soul.
It takes a team
And at the center of it all, the succulent turkey gets gobbled up almost as quickly as the carvings reach the platter. Thankfully, my husband carves the turkey for us all. I have done the turkey prep and roasting and I am grateful he steps in to dish it up to our guests.
But what did I do to get to this point of a golden roasted turkey? In fact, at this year’s party, since we expected such a big crowd, I cooked two 14 pound turkeys in our two ovens and this is how I did it…
What you need
- Buy an ORGANIC, FRESH, and NEVER FROZEN, turkey. I personally believe this makes a HUGE difference. The last few years we chose Trader Joe’s.
- Consider the delicious gluten free, non-GMO, Vegetable Broth I use regularly in my cooking from a totally awesome company Azure Standard.
- Use a meat injector. This injector is the one I have been using and love! The injector will help you add the “secret sauce” into the turkey meat.
- Use a baster. This is a little different from the injector and will enable you to suck up the juices to cover the turkey during cooking.
- Use a thermometer to be sure the core temperature of the turkey reaches the safe cooking zone at 165 degrees.
How to Roast a Succulent Turkey
- Roasting pan
- Turkey baster
- Meat Injector
- Mixing Bowls
Herbs & Spices
- 1-2 tbs Fresh or dried Parsley Organic
- 1 bunch Fresh Rosemary Organic
- 1 bunch Fresh Sage Organic
- 1 bunch Fresh Thyme Organic
- 6 tbs Vegetarian Powdered Broth From Azure Standard
- 2 large Carrots Organic
- 3-4 stalks Celery Organic
- 2-4 cloves Garlic Organic
- 1 large White or Red Onion Organic
- 1 bottle White Wine of choice
- 1 turkey 14 pound – FRESH – NEVER FROZEN ORGANIC & FREE RANGE
- Turn oven on the BAKE at 350 degrees.
- Chop vegetables into large pieces as there is no needs to finely dice. Peel garlic and onion and chop as well. Add two tablespoons of vegetable broth and toss until vegetables are covered. Set aside in a bowl.
- Remove fresh herbs from packaging and set aside in a bowl. No need to chop.
- Uncork the white wine and pour about 1 cup into a bowl. Add 2-4 tablespoons of vegetable broth. Add 1 tablespoon of parsley. Stir until well mixed.
- Remove the fresh turkey from packaging into a roasting pan. Allow juices to flow into pan. Remove giblets, gizzards and turkey neck. Put them aside to cook, toss, or process to feed your animals. Remove tie that is holding turkey legs close together.
- With clean hands get under the turkey skin and separate the skin from the muscles. Be careful not to tear the skin. Make an open space between skin and muscles on both the breast side and the back side as far, wide and deep around the turkey as possible.
- Scoop some of the broth and wine mixture and generously rub it inside the skin on the turkey meat everywhere you created space. If you run out of mixture, make some more!
- Scoop more broth mixture and rub around the outside of the turkey.
- Now stuff the turkey with the vegetable mixture and the fresh herb stalks until the bird interior is full. Set any extra vegetables around the turkey in the roasting pan. Be sure to stuff all the seasoning herbs through either opening in the turkey. Get it all in there! Place the turkey evenly on its belly.
- Use the meat injector, add the attachment with multiple holes and fill it with white wine. Inject the wine on either side of the back of the turkey deep into the meat.
- Place turkey in oven. Take note of the time. Set a timer for one hour.
- One hour after cooking, check the turkey. It should have a golden hue on the skin. Take the turkey out. Place it on the stove top. Inject the turkey with more white wine on both sides. Baste the turkey on the outside with the juices on the pan.
- Cover with foil (even though foil in not the healthiest) or another protective film that will prevent burning the turkey skin. I had the foil just resting over the turkey and did NOT wrap it tightly around the bird.
- Check the time and set a timer for another hour. Baste and inject the turkey hourly.
- At the third hour, check the core temperature of the turkey meat and be sure it has reached at least 165 degrees. If it has you can decide to continue cooking for a little longer, or turn off the oven and let it cook a little more slowly as the oven cools.
Ultimately, it is the combination of all the ingredients and activities that make this turkey totally deliciously succulent. The organic fresh turkey and the white wine are certainly the top features. You do, however, need it all to make it taste this great. Then you can also take it a step farther and make bone broth and turkey soup! Happy cooking to you!
May your Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving or your “any day turkey dinner” be full of love, gratitude, healthy and delicious food!