For hard-working foodies, Thanksgiving is a season to indulge the taste buds and welcome (more or less) family and friends. Many enjoy a four-day weekend at this time of year, allowing them to eat, play, recreate, sleep in or simply loaf. Yet offices and firms increasingly use the run-up to the holiday as a way to promote friendship and unity among associates. Enjoying an extended pre-Turkey Day potluck together can lift esprit d’corps and strengthen the bonds among co-workers. Central to such an event is the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. Organizers should take special care when selecting a roast turkey recipe.
Consider this one as a stellar example, based on serving 12 people.
- One fresh turkey, about 14 pounds
- One cup of white cane sugar
- Three garlic cloves
- Two and a quarter cups of sea salt
- Three bay leaves
- Two to three sprigs each of sage, rosemary and thyme
- One large onion, divided into quarters
- One tablespoon of cracked black peppercorns
- Two coarsely chopped celery ribs
- Two coarsely chopped carrots
- Two cups of turkey broth (chicken broth will also suffice)
1. Firstly, extract the neck and giblets, laying them aside for later. The night before roasting, combine the following with two and a half gallons of water in a large pot: sugar, salt, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, sage and rosemary. Stir the components until the salt and sugar dissolve.
2. Place the turkey in this brine–breast side down–and refrigerate. A traditional Thanksgiving turkey should soak in the brine for about 12 hours. After this time, remove the bird from the brine, allow it to drain and then pat it dry. The brine solution can be discarded.
3. Setting the turkey on a rack and roasting pan–breast side up this time–fill the cavity with the carrots, onion and celery. Tying the legs together with string (butcher’s twine is best if you can find it), place an aluminum foil tent over the breast. Insert the bird into a pre-heated oven set for 425 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 30 minutes.
4. Lower heat to 350 degrees and roast for an additional hour and a half. Take off the foil and continue roasting for another half hour. Allow 20 minutes to cool before carving. Meanwhile, combine the pan drippings with the giblets and the chicken or turkey stock in a mid-size saucepan. Bring it to a boil and then simmer until reduced by half. Strain out the solids and mix what is left with flour according to desired thickness. Season to taste.
This roast turkey recipe need not strictly apply to workplace indulgence. A staff that contributes to the preparation can also donate this delectable bird to an area soup kitchen or food pantry. Doing so through the Recipe for Success’ Cooking for a Cause program helps employees develop their teams while serving the needy during the holidays.