So this past Thanksgiving was a special Thanksgiving for us. Why? Because it was our first Baltimore Thanksgiving, and also my first Thanksgiving cooking the meal solo. I was so excited for this. I have been preparing for this day for what seems like forever; to work hard in the kitchen, creating a beautiful feast for my family. A couple of days before the BIG day, I went out and shopped and got all of the stuff, everything I'd need for my big turkey dinner. I got a 12-lb turkey, stuffing, green beans, cranberries, potatoes, and stuff to make a beautiful pie. I couldn't WAIT!
So on Thanksgiving-eve, I decided to test out Galley Foods, a delivery service providing DC and Baltimore with delivered delicious scratch-made meals, ready to heat up and enjoy. So I ordered at 5 p.m., and the food arrived at 5:30 p.m., and after warming the meals up in the oven, we were chowing down by 5:45 p.m.. and it was good. Really good. But the best part was, I didn't need to cook the night before my biggest cooking day of the year.
After we put the little ones to bed that night, I assembled my beautiful pie and pre-heated my oven. Once the oven beeped, letting me know it was heated and ready to accept my pie for cooking, I raced into the kitchen, and put it in. I set the timer. I retreated to the living room with my glass of wine, my husband, and my show. 30 minutes later, I went to check on my pie. I knew it'd be gorgeous. It had to be. I opened the oven. It was cold. COLD. My pie was... not beautiful! IT WASN'T COOKED AT ALL. WHAT HAPPENED???
I'll tell you what happened. My oven broke. It said it was heated. It said it was hot. But it wasn't. It wasn't close to warm. We tried over and over again to get it to work. But over and over again, it was still cold. Are you playing me, oven? HOW CAN YOU BREAK THE DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING?!?!
So, panicked, we decided to put Thanksgiving off a day, and instead, go out to dinner at Fogo de Chao, the upscale Brazilian chain, known for all-you-can-eat meat carved table side plus an extensive salad bar. It has become something of a tradition for us to visit Fogo the day AFTER Thanksgiving, so this year, we just decided to do a switcheroo. Fogo the day of Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving the next day. We had a part coming for the oven, and it was a sure thing that it would be fixed.
My panic subsided as I sat around a table with my amazing husband and my two beautiful boys on Thanksgiving. I looked around, marveling at all the amazing blessings that surround me.
I was so thankful to spend quality time with my family, with those who are most important to me. It didn't matter that we weren't around our table with the turkey feast I had envisioned. All that mattered was their smiles, laughs, and the fact that we were together.
The next day, our part came. But as it turned out, that part wasn't what we needed. It was replaced expertly by my husband's capable hands. It just wasn't the part that needed fixing. So panic flooded back into my body. I couldn't allow my 12-pounder to go bad! So my husband grabbed Google by the horns, and found out that it is possible to cook a turkey on the stovetop. Hooray! Basically, we'd create an oven out of a giant pot on the stovetop. Hooray again!
So on Friday afternoon, our Thanksgiving feast was underway. My stock was simmering in a sauce pan, and it was starting to smell a lot like the holidays.
I seasoned my bird with some olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs, stuffed it with onions, carrots and celery, and shoved some butter under the skin. I let it marinate for an hour or so in the seasonings while I let the stock get to a point that I was happy with.
From there, I removed the innards from the stock, transferred it to a huge pot, the same pot we made our beer in. I ensured there was about 1.5 - 2" of liquid in the pot simmering before putting the turkey in.
More like plopping the turkey in. But however it got in, it got in. I secured the lid, and every 30 minutes for the next 3 hours, I removed the lid to baste the bird with the cooking liquid, and to make sure the liquid level didn't drop. Other than that, I let it just sit.
After 3 hours, our 12 pound turkey reached 165 degrees F, and was ready to be removed from it's yummy, yummy bath.
The bird rested for about 30 minutes while I got the rest of our meal ready. I boiled potatoes, and mashed them up with milk and butter for some creamy mashed taters. I sautéed the green beans with garlic and olive oil.
The cranberry sauce was cooked and chilled. I used the drippings/liquid to make gravy, and the stuffing, while more dressing that stuffing since I didn't stuff the bird, was cooked and we were ready to eat.
We sat around our living room table, comfy on the couch, with a movie on, ready to enjoy a relaxed belated Thanksgiving.
What an insanely delicious meal. I'm not even kidding you when I say that turkey was WAY more juicy and moist than I've ever had before.
I'm telling you - THIS is how I'll be making turkey from here on out, working oven or not.
And yeah, it looked a bit anemic, but you couldn't tell once it was carved and served on the plate. Outstanding. Truly delicious. Holy cow status. I'm so happy that the oven broke for the sole reason that I learned this new way to make turkey. Oh yeah. It's good.
HOW TO MAKE A TURKEY ON THE STOVE:
STEP ONE: Make sure your turkey is thawed!
STEP TWO: Get your stock or cooking liquid in a big pot. The liquid needs to be 1.5" - 2" deep. You can make your own stock by simmering chicken broth, carrots, onions, celery, salt, pepper sage, rosemary and thyme and the innards together for an hour or so and then removing the innards .
STEP THREE: Place the prepared turkey in the pot. (Prepared = seasoned, buttered/oiled, stuffed with veggies)
STEP FOUR: Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat and leave the liquid at a simmer. Secure the lid.
STEP FIVE: Simmer the turkey gently. Check the liquid level every 30 minutes. If it's boiling, turn down the heat. If it drops below an inch, add more liquid.
STEP SIX: Start testing the turkey's temperature around 2 hours. Once the turkey reaches 165 degrees F, which should be reached between 3-4 hours, remove it from the pot to a carving board, where it'll rest for 20-30 minutes.
You'll have the most deliciously juicy turkey you've ever had using this method. I couldn't even believe it myself, but it's true. Let me know if you decide to try using this method for your next holiday feast!