Thanksgiving in Paris
This year, my wife Lindsey and I decided that we would host Thanksgiving in Paris at our place. We’ve met an amazing group of people since we have been here and we always love the opportunity to bring them all together! We decided on going with a more potluck style evening since kitchens in Paris are small, it can be tough to put out a meal for 20 people all on time. I decided that since I have the tools here that I’d take on cooking the turkey myself. I purchased two turkeys from the butcher and got to work. I don’t have a big enough oven to roast two birds so I had decided ahead of time that I would roast one turkey whole and that I would butcher down the second turkey so that I could confit the legs and then cook the breasts sous vide.
The day before the Party, I went and picked up my turkeys. When I got home with the turkeys, I already had a plan of action in mind so I had to get working. I broke down one turkey into 4 pieces. 2 Legs and 2 breasts. I covered the legs with a cure and set them in the fridge for 6 hours. For the breasts, I sealed them in a bag with Olive Oil, Garlic, Thyme and salt and placed them into the fridge since I wouldn’t need them until the next day. After the legs had been on cure for 6 hours, I rinsed them off and sealed them in a bag with duck fat, garlic and thyme. I placed them into a water bath that was set to 80C and let them hang out in there for 16 hours! 16 hours they cooked for! While all of that was working I took the bones from the turkey and made a pressure cooked turkey stock that I would use as my base for the gravy. The stock was simply the bones, carrot, celery onion, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns covered with water and cooked a pressure for 1 hour. The next day was pretty easy. Since I didn’t have to do everything myself it left me with just having to finish the gravy, mashed potatoes, make cranberry sauce, cook the breasts and roast the turkey. I ended up having plenty of time left over so I made a pumpkin pie too. For the cranberry sauce, I cooked the berries in maple syrup, orange juice and a little bit of sugar. I made the gravy pretty early as well. Flour and butter in equal parts and then add stock until your desired consistency. Once my roasted turkey was done, I added the drippings to the gravy as well. Once the legs were done cooking, I removed them from the water bath and chilled them, then put the breasts into the bath to cook for 5 hours at 63C. I whipped up the pumpkin pie and then simply played the waiting game.
For the whole roasted turkey, I dry brined it overnight in a salt, thyme, bay leaf mixture. I then rinsed it off the next day, seasoned it with a rub that I keep on hand and placed the turkey on a bed of carrots and onions. I roasted it at 180C until my thermometer read 60C for the breast. I flipped it and then roasted it breast side down until the legs registered 85C. Like most Turkeys I’ve ever had, the breasts were still a little dry while the legs were deliciously moist. I had originally wanted to spatchcock (Cutting out the backbone and roasting it flat) but opted against it only because I wanted to present a whole bird to everyone. Next year, I’ll spatchcock it for sure… That is if I decide that I’m actually even going to roast one. I may just stick with the confit legs and sous vide breasts.
Everyone that came ended up bringing a dish and some wine/champagne/beer. Everything was great! My friend Jason brought over some of his own house made bread dough and made fresh bread! Along with that he brought an amazing Caramelized Potato Soup with Bacon and a Chocolate brownie and Peanut Butter Glazed dessert! It was all amazing! We had Kale Salad, Spicey Southern Corn Casserole, Sweet Potato Pie, and of course Stuffing! For dessert we had all kinds of home made goodies cakes and pies! Everything was so good!
Thanksgiving in Paris this year was a lot of fun! We are super thankful that we’ve met so many great people here in Paris and I know I’m looking forward to many more of these kind of events in the future!