Only once have we hosted Thanksgiving at our house and it was spectacular. At the time, Mark was our home's main cook and I was the dishwasher.
Several years ago, I decided I needed to learn how to cook if I wanted to eat the way I want. So I committed to cooking dinner every night during one whole school year. I successfully managed to do it more or less. Everything seemed daunting at first and then it just got easier. While Mark is a natural, I'm a self-taught novice who still gets nervous when someone asks me to bring a dish to their house. Making chicken soup with a whole chicken, turning on the grill or roasting a turkey were high up on my list of things that I found seriously scary.
My mom also has some serious kitchen chops. Her famous lasagna, brisket, matzo balls, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, rum cake and turkey stuffing can't be replicated. Her love and energy is in it. So I tried my best to make a gluten free stuffing based on my love of (her and) hers. Mark gave it the thumbs up! Cue heel kick here!
As for the turkey, I have honestly only cooked whole birds a couple times, but how hard could a turkey breast be? Feeling confident, I began this dinner at 5pm on a Thursday night thinking it would be done in an hour. It was more like 90 minutes, and I even made gravy on the fly. My kitchen was wrecked, but it gave me another boost of confidence that when it's our turn to host Thanksgiving again, I'll be the one cooking and Mark will be the one washing dishes. Cue dish towel whip here!
Note on timing and ovens: Set oven to high broil first with rack on highest level to toast bread. After all the bread is toasted, lower rack to bottom 1/3 of oven and set temp to 450º on bake for the turkey. You will need a second oven to cook the stuffing at the same time.
1.5 loaf of Udi’s White Sandwich Gluten Free Bread
1 small onion, chopped
1 small fennel, chopped bulb only with core removed
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 links Amylu's Italian sausage or other clean-sourced sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (sausage is optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T butter or 2 T olive oil - to coat bread
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
2 T fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 T fresh sage (My son says sage tastes like a candle so I might leave it out for him the next time. Not sure when he ate a candle, but OK.)
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
Set oven on high broil.
Lightly butter or oil each side of bread.
Broil bread on baking sheet until brown/toasted, 2 minutes. Flip to other side and broil again for 2 minutes.
Allow bread to cool completely on a wire rack.
Cut bread into pieces and place in large bowl.
Preheat oven to 325º.
Combine parsley, sage, salt and pepper in small bowl.
Heat 1/4 cup olive over medium high heat; add onions and sauté until softened.
Add fennel and celery, stirring occasionally until vegetables are soft.
Transfer vegetables to bowl with the toasted bread.
Add eggs, stock, coconut milk and gently toss.
Transfer mixture to a glass baking dish, prepped with olive oil spray or butter.
Bake, covered, in middle of oven for 30 minutes.
Uncover to brown top, bake for an additional 20 minutes.
TIME: 90 minutes with cook time
4.5 pounds whole turkey breast, bone-in and skin-on
1 tablespoon butter melted or extra-virgin olive oil
1.5 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
That's it! See, so easy!
Place oven rack on lowest third of oven. Preheat oven to 450º.
Place a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet.
Place the breast on the rack on the baking sheet and allow to warm to room temp while you're busy toasting the bread for the stuffing.
Pat breast dry with a paper towel.
Using a basting brush, brush turkey with butter or oil, get under the skin where you can.
Rub salt and pepper all over turkey and under skin.
Place turkey in oven and turn oven temp down to 350º.
Check turkey temp at one hour. Meat will read 165º when it's done. If you have to cook longer than an hour, place foil over turkey to prevent skin from getting too crispy.
When done, remove from oven and cover with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes. Carve starting at top of breastbone down until full breast is removed. Slice turkey on the bias (on an angle).
TOTAL TIME: 90 minutes
Pour drippings from baking sheet into a small pot. Add roughly 1 cup chicken stock, 1 T butter and 1 T arrowroot. Whisk on a low heat. If it gets lumpy, add more stock. Strain through a fine mesh sieve.
HEARTFUL RECIPE - One of our real food recipes that focuses on veggies, protein, healthy fats and/or healthy carbs and doesn't include gluten, dairy (substitute oil for butter), soy, refined sugar, corn or peanuts.