Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey on top

Have you ever learned that there would be unexpected Russians at your Thanksgiving dinner AFTER you had gone to the market one-last-time, stuffed the bird & were already cooking it? I would love to know what you did & here is what I did:

So there I was, in my teeny-weeny kitchen with the biggest bird my oven would hold (12 lb). I had a large, deep roasting pan, but the rack I used was still too tall; the top of the rack was higher than the edges of the roasting pan, making for very precarious sliding basting. In the end, this was lucky.

I scrounged through my fridge & found the ingredients for ....ratatouille. I often make a ratatouille in the days after, as it matches the left-overs so nicely. & so I cut up the zucchini, onions, carrots, yellow squash, garlic cloves & even some small-potatoes-that-had-not-been-mashed into bite-sized chunks. I poured a container of broth into the bottom of the roasting pan & added these veggies.

For the next two hours, every time I basted the bird, I stirred the veggies. When it was done, I scooped it all out with a slotted spoon. Some of the vegetables (potatoes in particular) were so soft they slid back into the pan. & that was fine. The veggies I did gather I put into a large serving bowl & put aside with the other bowls of stuffing etc. to hit the table soon & I turned the rest over to A to make gravy. & it really was the best gravy.

In the end there was plenty of food, even with unexpected guests. They brought with them a Russian version of three-bean salad (I am not kidding) & borscht (I am really not kidding). Thanksgiving has always been a one plate meal in my house: as many servings as you can stuff in your face, but just the one plate. Well, a small second plate for dessert, but no soup course. In the end, I think we had the soup in coffee mugs, all my bowls having been commandeered for cranberry sauce, gravy, etc.

I felt just like one of the unsung women of the Thanksgiving myth looking at corn pone, asking herself "spoon or fork?"

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