Happy Thanksgiving! Just in case any of you are standing in your kitchen staring at a large bird and scratching your heads wondering how to exactly to cook this thing (Or more realistically, so I don't have to call my mom next Thanksgiving morning, as I do every year, to ask for her turkey recipe), this is our family's beloved turkey recipe, handed down from my Babcia Zosia to my mother, down to me and hopefully down many more generations. In Poland, poultry is often served with apples (duck and apples is a regional specialty), and this recipe creates absolutely the most delicious dark, salty, and slightly sweet sauce that will make you rethink turkey entirely. The result is incredibly juicy and moist and not even a deep fried turkey will come close. We like to use a brined bird, which we have found is juicier and more flavorful. And I usually try to choose the smallest turkey that is available (ours is 14 pounds or so), if necessary cooking two turkeys rather than one larger one (but we are fans of dark meat around here). Okay, so here it is!
For this recipe you will need:
one small to medium sized brined turkey
10 small apples (my favorite for baking are granny smith)
two cups of pitted prunes
ground sea salt (about a tablespoon)
a few teaspoons of soy sauce
1-2 tablespoons dried marjoram
a few pats of butter (about a quarter cup, or half a stick)
Once you have the ingredients, assembling the turkey is simple. Wash your turkey and pat it dry, placing it breast up in the pan, and making sure to remove the giblets and save the liver to fry with some onion for a snack for lunch (there is nothing like liver to keep your iron levels up, especially for women, so eat up!). Slice the apples (unpeeled) and if you like, cut out the seeds (my mom never does this, and it doesn't really matter in the end). Scatter the apples and prunes around the turkey. Place the pats of butter around the turkey, sprinkle a few teaspoons of salt and the marjoram all around the bird. Finally, pour the soy sauce on the bird, and that's it. Place the bird in an oven heated to 325 and now wait, which, by the way, is exactly what I am doing at the moment. Your turkey should read a minimum of 165 internally, which should take about 3 and a half hours for a 14 lb bird. You will probably want to cover the turkey about half way through, and baste every 20 minutes or so!
Once complete, you can either strain the sauce through a sieve making sure to get as much of the cooked fruit as possible, place it in a food processor, or simply serve with whole chunks of fruit, which is usually how we do it.
I am actually making an extra turkey, as we're going to my parents' house for Thanksgiving dinner, but once you make this turkey you will understand why!
Here it is! I just went back and made a few changes (decreasing the salt slightly due to the fact we used a brined turkey, noting that the turkey should be covered half way through). I know it is cheating to try the turkey before the actual dinner, but I am never good at waiting, and it is delicious! Have a wonderful holiday.