* yes, there should be FIVE sets of boots but Allen ignored my advice to get adequate rain gear...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving Abroad

I'm going to link this up to pretty, happy, funny, real.  It isn't formatted quite right but does include quite a bit of real life.  :-)
round button chicken

Noah dips his
pie into the cream
Allen has been discussing hosting a Thanksgiving celebration in Dublin since we moved here.  I was less enthusiastic.  On the morning of, Allen stood in the middle of the kitchen and proclaimed "I think this is fantastic!"  I pointed out to him that his main contribution to the festivities up to then was picking up the turkey while I had made 6 pies, 2 dozen rolls, cranberry sauce, and several pounds of roasted vegetables.

Megan loved the rolls
Pumpkin is not a big crop here in general (turnips were the traditionally carved item) and canned pumpkin is both hard to find and quite expensive.  If I had been at the top of my game, I would have gotten a few pie pumpkins for the 2 weeks in October they were out and made a fresh puree but that was about the time we went to Scotland.  Thankfully, Jen, our American visitor over Thanksgiving, was happy to bring canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and cranberries with her.  I spoke to the butcher and he got a Turkey killed specially for me- the Irish tend to use turkey mostly for Christmas dinner so we were running a bit ahead of the crowd.

But, how was I going to manage to cook the turkey?  We have an upper and lower oven, both tiny.  Each are around 13 inches by 16 inches and a height of 1-2 feet.  I doubted they could even manage to fit a large chicken.  The upper oven's knob's marking had rubbed off so the one and only time we had attempted to use it, we came close to causing a small gas explosion.  The temperatures were a bit of guesswork to start with, using the gas mark system and the heating fluctuates wildly.  I have yet to have anything cook the same way twice.

Spatchcocked breast
Allen swooped in with a new knob a week or so before Thanksgiving and an Irish friend told me that you just needed to have the butcher spatchcock the turkey.  Spatchcocking is removing the backbone so that the bird lies flat.  It's about the same as butterflying.  Spatchcock is an Irish term derived from "dispatch cock" or preparing a cock for cooking.  I finally decided to cook the legs in the upper oven and the breast in the lower.  By the time the bird is flattened, you won't get a traditional Norman Rockwell bird, anyway.  On the plus side, this means the breast doesn't get dried out and the whole bird cooks much more quickly.

Megan's winter squash
allergy means we also have
an apple dessert
Since my ovens would be otherwise occupied, I cooked pies the day before.  There would be around 12 of us so I thought I would go ahead and make both cans worth of pumpkin pie- that was only 2 pies, after all.  Except, when you use Irish pie plates, it makes 6!  Our Irish guests were very suspicious of pumpkin pie although how a group of people who can face black pudding and fish 1st thing in the morning can be suspicious of ANY food is beyond me.  :-)  But, it was deemed good and they even left with a pie for home.  The cream helped.  I mixed several tablespoons of creme fresh in with the heavy cream and it gave it a delightful zing.

There was rather a lot of consumption of hard cider on my part, the sacrifice of 1 pair of kitchen sheers and a great deal of laughter by Jen and Allen but the turkey was dismembered, massaged, roasted, and declared quite good.

In the end, we wound up with a quite respectable feast of roasted veggies, potatoes, sweet potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, turkey, stuffing, and rolls as well as 6 pumpkin pies and 2 apple tartines.  An enjoyable time was had by all as well as a good night's sleep- nothing like some turkey just before bed!

Richard carving the turkey

1 comment:

  1. I love that your husband had such a sense of satisfaction. :) well done!