“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.”
My facebook feed is scattered with friends and family who have dedicated an update of thankfulness for everyday in November. The political rants are becoming less and less while the thanks for family, friends, health are increasing. I appreciate their thankfulness but then quickly return to my own state of longing leaving me feeling dissatisfied.
Instead of feeling thankful for my home I lament it’s size. The sun shines and yet I focus on the cold. My body is eager, warm and alive and I concentrate on the slight tinge of a sore throat that is forming. The pantry is stocked and the fridge is filled with fresh food but I moan over having to cook another meal.
Thankfulness is as much a habit as brushing your teeth or making a cup of coffee in the morning. It’s about shifting your focus to the things that you do have rather than longing for what is not yet yours. In the midst of thankfulness we see all we are unnecessarily given and joy overwhelms the dissatisfaction.
A small home becomes a warm home filled with joyful, healthy children. The cold weather turns to thoughts of brightly colored fall leaves and anticipation of snow and warming drinks. When the time comes for me to cook my family dinner I should be overwhelmed by the fact that I have a family to feed and there is food to cook with and a stove to prepare it on with electricity to heat the pan and clean water to wash my fresh vegetables – I could go on and on.
I’m writing this post while thinking this through and am peeling back the blinding scales as I write. These last few days I’ve successfully felt sorry for myself – overwhelmed with work, exhausted by the responsibilities of being a wife and a mother and blinded by dissatisfaction. I didn’t come to this space to write about thankfulness but I’m so glad I did as I can see now how selfish I’ve been and am so thankful to be aware.
Joy returns and reroutes me outward. With a focus on thankfulness rather than lamenting over what I want differently in my life the resulting joy presses me to love and serve which ultimately leads to satisfaction greater than any “want” could ever give.
I did indeed come here to tell you about our turkey and I’m so thankful for this space to share it with you all because you need to know about this turkey.
This year will mark the second in which we’ve made a boneless turkey. A quick call to the local market and a boneless turkey is ready for pickup the next day. The bones are then saved for stock and used to make a rich gravy or saved to make the traditional leftover turkey soup.
The advantage to a boneless turkey is that carving is simple and clean, the dark meat and white meat mingle in the roll creating a harmonious flavorful meat and the options for stuffing are endless and provide even more flavor which can sometimes be lacking in turkey.
The turkey that ceremoniously lands on our Thanksgiving table this year will be stuffed with an herby, sausage-laden stuffing dotted with dried cherries and toasted hazelnuts. I’m already feeling thankful for that day and for the opportunity to enjoy this turkey again.
What a great time of year to be reminded to exercise the habit of thankfulness.
inspired by Ina Garten
The most difficult part about this recipe is tying the stuffed turkey just prior to roasting. It makes the job much easier if you have an extra set of hands help you get the turkey to submit. It’s going to be messy and you’ll feel a bit clumsy. Be brave and confident as it will come together and your reward for such bravery will be a flavorful and moist turkey that will sure evoke elation and cheers as it’s brought to the table for (easy) carving.
3/4 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
1/2 cup brandy
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 ½ cups diced onions (2 onions)
1 cup (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
3/4 pound pork sausage, casings removed
1 ½ teaspoons paprika
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts, toasted
3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix (homemade recipe below)
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 large egg, beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons good mustard
1 whole turkey boned (save bones, wings and giblets for gravy and stock)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Place the dried cherries in a small saucepan and pour in the brandy and 1/4 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits with a fork, and saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until cooked and browned. Stir in 1 teaspoon paprika and a pinch of salt. Add the cherries with the liquid, the chopped rosemary, and hazelnuts and cook for 2 more minutes. Scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.
Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir well. (The stuffing may be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place a baking rack on a sheet pan.
Lay the butterflied turkey skin side down on a cutting board. Sprinkle the meat with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and spread the mustard over the turkey.
Spread the stuffing in a 1/2-inch-thick layer over the meat, leaving a half-inch border on all sides. Don’t mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll. (Place any leftover stuffing in a buttered gratin dish and bake for the last 45 minutes of roasting alongside the turkey.)
Starting at 1 end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides. Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.
Place the stuffed turkey seam side down on the rack on the sheet pan. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and remaining ½ teaspoon paprika, and roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees F in the center.
Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carve 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve warm with the extra stuffing.
Homemade Stuffing Mix
3 cups ½” diced rustic bread
½ cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives, tarragon, sage, rosemary, thyme etc.)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
Combine everything in a large bowl and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350*F until bread is golden and dried out, about 20 minutes. Stir the mixture halfway through the baking process. Taste and add more salt if desired.