My Mother’s Thanksgiving Squash and Turkey

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For those of you that don’t know, Canadian Thanksgiving was on Monday. Now I personally love Thanksgiving…family, friends, and an excuse to be thankful for everything we have. There’s nothing not to like! Of course, Thanksgiving isn’t half as good without delicious food. This was never a worry for me…I grew up with a mother who is a fantastic cook. However, it has occured to me that I should be trying to learn her recipes for myself…after all, I may end up in a different city from her one day!

So this year she taught me how to make her squash dish and I got to assist with the Turkey. My mother makes both of these incredibly well. Even as a child, I loved her squash! And you know that if a vegetable dish is made so a kid loves it, it has to be good. When it comes to difficulty level, the squash is so easy a small child could make it quite easily. As for the Turkey…I mean it’s big and heavy and awkward, but it really is easy. The stuffing is one of the most simplistic recipes I’ve ever seen for stuffing…my mom’s style is to keep it simple, but make sure everything in that simple dish is the best it could be. And as for cooking the rest of the turkey, really don’t freak yourself out over it. I find people get so scared about the thought of making a big turkey for a special occasion, they forget to take a deep breath and just see it for what it is…a really big roast chicken. There’s really nothing particularly complicated about it.

So without further ado, here is my mother’s squash and turkey recipes:

Note: I’m sorry if these recipes aren’t the most formal ever, and don’t include quite all the measurements. My mother does not follow recipes, and so these are notes I asked her to write down for me out of her own head. If you have any questions about any steps, don’t hesitate to ask!

Squash

Ingredients:
8 cups chopped butternut squash
1 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
nutmeg

Instructions:

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Butter sides and bottom of large microwaveable container. Place chopped butternut squash in microwave container with lid and cook on high for 15 minutes. Stir and cook on high for another 15 minutes. Drain water from container.

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Add butter and brown sugar and mash contents together thoroughly. Sprinkle a bit of nutmeg over the top and stir thoroughly.

Heat up just before serving and sprinkle a bit more nutmeg overtop.

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Practically no work at all – lovely!

(Note: the squash may be more watery than you want when you first mash it all together. Don’t worry, it will thicken over time)

Turkey

Ingredients:
13-15 lb turkey
1 bottle sweet white wine
2 loaves italian or french bread
6 medium onions
1 lb butter
1/2 cup ground sage

Instructions:

Rub butter thick on the inside of the roasting pan (but not the bottom). Clean out turkey cavities (remove neck, etc.) and rinse. Place in roasting pan breast-side up.

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Peel and chop 6 medium onions. Saute in 1 cup of butter until translucent, then turn off heat and add 1 more cup of butter, stirring until it melts. Let cool.

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Slice 2 loaves of bread into cubes and place in 1 very large mixing bowl (or divide into two bowls). Pour 1/2 cup ground sage over the bread and mix thoroughly and evenly (by hand is easiest). When the sage is evenly mixed with the bread cubes, pour the onion/butter mixture overtop and mix thoroughly. At this stage, if the bread is not evenly coated with butter (not sopping but a bit coated), melt a bit more butter and add to the bread.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

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Stuff the rear cavity of the turkey first, packing it in tightly and closing the skin flap over the stuffing snugly. Then stuff the breast cavity, packing it in as tightly as you can. Either tuck the legs back into the breast flap of skin at the top, or tie the legs together with twine.

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Rub butter thoroughly onto the outside of the turkey, especially wing tips, legs and sides. Then pour one bottle of sweet white wine over the entire turkey. Add 2 cups of water to the bottom of the roasting pan. Sprinkle the turkey (especially the breast) with sea salt, chopped parsley, ground garlic and ground pepper.

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Insert toothpicks into the turkey: 6-8 across the breast and 2 in each leg; cover the turkey with aluminum foil. The toothpicks keep the foil from coming into direct contact with the turkey.

Baste the turkey thoroughly after the first 30 minutes, and turn the oven down to 400 degrees F.

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Baste the turkey every 45 minutes until cooked. Approximately 4 hours. When the turkey is golden brown, cut into the breast along the side of the breast bone. The meat should be juicy and moist, with no pink hue anywhere. Or use a meat thermometer, inserted in the same place. No idea how to use those – google it:)

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Take the turkey out and carve it. All the lovely juice in the bottom is for gravy. Easy peasy.

So these are some of my mother’s delicious Thanksgiving recipes. Let me know in the comments what some of your favourite Thanksgiving foods are! Give this post a like, then head over to my facebook, instagram, and twitter, for fun daily tidbits and updates on new posts!

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