Yes, it’s several days past Christmas now and I’m just getting around to writing about the first Christmas dinner at our place. It’s taken that long to absorb it all, really. Eight people, one dog and gobs of food. The turkey came out very nicely, if a little earlier than I anticipated. (The oven cooks turkeys faster than I think it should and chickens slower. Weird.) I brined it over night this time and you could definitely tell a difference in the texture and moisture levels. I will certainly be doing that again as it really helped to keep the bird tender and juicy.
In attendance on Christmas were my parents, my brother, my in-laws and the always fabulous Hot Biscuit. Mom and Dad were in charge of cranberries and the ever-tempting trifle; my brother brought ooooooooodles of hors d’oeuvres including some stellar bacon-wrapped water chestunuts; my in-laws brought – as requested – rice & beans and, as an extra, creamed corn; and the HB made her delicious mandarin & sugared almond green salad. As I posted last week, we did The Bird, cornbread stuffing, roasted vegetables and potatoes, citrus & sesame asparagus and the gravy. (Oh. And Dad brought homemade fudge, a Christmas tradition that had been put on hiatus for a few years. I was giddy when I saw the container!)
So, as you might imagine, we had so. Much. Food. While I’d love to say that I totally kept my cool through the whole preparation, I must give credit to J who kept me calm when faced with an unexpected problem in the kitchen. Quick thinking and a cool head saved the day! On that note, a word to the wise: if you lose the liquid that accumulates from the turkey while it cooks, you can tip the turkey right-side-up and let it drain into the pan. This is exactly what happened to me and that was the solution which worked quite well! We still had the beautiful – but now caramelized – liquid but not as much as I would’ve liked. Regardless, the turkey juice (and doesn’t THAT sound appealing!) worked like a charm and with the addition of chicken stock and red wine, it all came out!
We ate, we drank, we gorged. We also had a few rounds of Wii sports in between dinner and dessert which gave us (okay, J) a chance to do some dishes and, perhaps more importantly, a chance for everyone to digest a little! Would I do Christmas dinner again? In a heartbeat. Am I glad that it only comes once a year? Unquestionably. But I learned a lot, spent an evening with my family and friends and can’t wait to try my hand at it again!