Bacon-Covered Roasted Turkey
This recipe gives you triple insurance against the dreaded dry bird: You brine the turkey, rub butter under and over its skin, and lay bacon on top. Choose a fresh turkey—and read the label to make sure it hasn’t been injected with a saline or flavor solution—to ensure a juicy and perfectly seasoned holiday centerpiece.
2 cups medium-flake kosher salt
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. black peppercorns
1 Tbsp. mustard seeds
1 (12-lb.) whole fresh turkey
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
6 bacon slices (not thick cut)
Garnishes: roasted carrots, fresh bay leaves
Combine first 4 ingredients and 2 qt. water in a saucepan, and cook over
medium heat 5 minutes or until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat.
Divide liquid between 2 large (10- to 12-cup) bowls; add 4 cups ice cubes to
each bowl and enough cold water to make 10 cups of brine in each bowl. Stir
until ice melts and both mixtures are completely cool (about 5 minutes).
Remove giblets and neck from turkey, and reserve for another use, if
desired. Place turkey in an 18-qt. food-grade plastic container or stockpot.
Pour brine into cavity and over turkey, covering turkey completely. Place in
refrigerator. Cover and chill 24 hours, turning turkey once halfway through.
Combine butter and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl.
Preheat oven to 350°. Remove turkey from brine, discarding brine. Rinse
turkey well, including cavity.
Starting at neck, carefully loosen and lift skin from breast and drumsticks
using your fingers. (Do not totally detach skin.) Rub 3⁄4 cup butter mixture
under skin; carefully replace skin. Tie ends of legs together with string; tuck
wing tips under. Place turkey, breast side up, on a lightly greased rack in a
roasting pan; rub remaining butter mixture over skin.
Roast turkey at 350° for 1 hour and 45 minutes, basting with pan juices
every 20 minutes during last 45 minutes of cooking. Remove from oven, and
lay bacon slices, crosswise, over breast and drumsticks.
Return turkey to oven; roast 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion of thigh registers 170°, basting every 15 minutes.
Let stand 30 minutes before carving. Garnish, if desired.
Makes: 8 servings
Hands-on Time: 50 min. Total Time: 4 hr., plus 1 day for brining
All Things Sweet Potato Casserole
When I was growing up, the sweet potato casserole landed on the table right beside less kid-friendly foods like Brussels sprouts and green beans. I always thought someone had forgotten that it wasn’t time for dessert. I never spoke up to correct the “mistake.” I simply devoured as many helpings as I could fit on my plate.
4 1/2 cups mashed baked sweet potatoes (about 4 lb. whole)
2 large eggs
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and divided
11/2 cups crushed gingersnaps (30 cookies)
3 cups miniature marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine potatoes, eggs, next 5 ingredients, and 1/2 cup melted butter in a large bowl; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spoon into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
Stir remaining 1/4 cup melted butter into crushed gingersnaps. Top potato mixture with marshmallows and the gingersnap mixture in alternating crosswise rows.
Bake at 350° for 28 minutes or until marshmallows are lightly browned.
Makes: 12 servings
Hands-on Time: 20 min. Total Time: 1 hr., 33 min.
Note: To bake sweet potatoes, place on a baking sheet. Bake at 375° until
tender, about 45 minutes for small potatoes, 1 hour for medium potatoes, or
1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 25 minutes for large potatoes.
Layered Carrot Cake
Pineapple and freshly grated carrot sing of spring sweetness. Nothing is
sacrificed in this lightened-up cream cheese frosting; it’s just as decadent
as you always remembered.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
3 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2tsp. table salt
1 1/2 (8-oz.) cans crushed pineapple in juice, drained
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
3 large egg whites
1 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups grated carrots
Vegetable cooking spray
1 (8-oz.) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
2 to 4 tsp. fat-free milk (optional)
Prepare Batter: Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Whisk together pineapple and next 4 ingredients; add pineapple mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in carrots. Pour batter into 2 greased (with cooking spray) and floured (8-inch) round cake pans.
Bake at 350°F for 22 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans to a wire rack; cool completely (about 1 hour).
Prepare Frosting: Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar to butter mixture; beat at low speed just until blended. (Do not overbeat.) If desired, beat in up to 4 teaspoons milk to desired consistency. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 2/3 cup frosting, and top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.
Makes: 16 servings
Hands-on Time: 30 min. Total Time: 2 hr.
Copyright (c) 2106 Rebecca Lang Cooks, LLC. Recipes from Around the Southern Table (Oxmoor House, 2012) by Rebecca Lang and The Southern Vegetable Book (Oxmoor House, 2016) by Rebecca Lang. Photo credits to Jennifer Davick and Iain Bagwell.