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thanksgiving with williams-sonoma: part 1 of 3

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thanksgiving with williams-sonoma: part 1 of 3

When it comes to delicious food ideas and fabulous cooking products, no one does it better than Williams-Sonoma. In fact, whenever I go into their store on Bloor St. and I'm overcome with the smell of goodies baking and the sound of Michael Buble spilling out of the speakers, I seriously contemplate moving in. This past Monday, I attended one of their weekly technique classes that are held for free in the store kitchen. I will be assisting in the creation of this year's Thanksgiving dinner (sorry Mum, the turkey's all you!), so I thought, what the heck, I'll take a class on how to perfect a classic Thanksgiving feast. The class was lead by two Williams-Sonoma associates, Christopher and Jackie, who were absolutely wonderful and had a ton of great tips. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving weekend, I'll be posting all the secrets that I learned at the technique class, plus sharing some pictures of the yummy food that was whipped up (did I mention I got to eat it? Well, I did. Actually, I devoured it.).

Part 1: The Turkey (gobble, gobble)

Isn't she a beaut? Part 1 of my Thanksgiving feature is all about the ol' bird -- the holiday just wouldn't be the same without it. To be honest, I thought preparing a turkey consisted of simply defrosting it, sticking it in a pan with some water, and letting it cook all day until everyone was salivating. Boy, was I wrong. Christopher and Jackie had been cooking that bad boy throughout the day and were more than happy to share their secrets on how to get it juicy and full of flavour. Here are their tips on how to prepare the perfect turkey:
  • Plan ahead! Decide on what kind of turkey you'll be purchasing (frozen or fresh, kosher or Butterball, etc.) and plan for how long it will take to prepare it (i.e. frozen turkey's usually take 3 days to defrost in the fridge)
  • Brine the turkey. A lot of people skip this step, but it's necessary if you want to make sure the breast meat is juicy and not dried out. Williams-Sonoma carries a lovely Apple and Spices Turkey Brine that the pair used on this one.
  • Truss the bird well. Trussing is the process of tying the bird's legs down in order to help with the browning process {see image above}. By tying the wings down and legs together, it ensures an even cook. Check out the Williams-Sonoma trussing video for a step-by-step.
  • Cover the turkey. For the first 3/4 of the bird's cook time, cover with tin foil. Or, if you prefer the bird to be more brown, cover with cheesecloth instead and spread some butter over top.
  • Take precaution when carving. Let the turkey sit for a little bit before carving so that the flavourful juices can settle in the meat. Also, use a cutting board with pyramids when carving, as it will grip the bird when the juices are running out.
  • Don't overcook it. If your bird is done before the rest of your meal is prepared, wait until the oven gets down to 200 degrees -- at this temperature, you can put the turkey back in to warm, without having it cook any further.
You see? There's so much more to it than just shoving the bird in the oven and having a glass (or two!) of wine while waiting for it to cook. Check in on Tuesday for tips on making yummy side dishes! xo, Lauren
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thanksgiving with williams-sonoma: part 1 of 3