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Day 317: Full-on Turkey Dinner and Apple Crumble Pie

It’s after midnight again, and my computer crashed literally seconds before I hit “publish”, losing about half my post. So you’ll have to settle for a more Coles’ Notes version. 

Dinner was particularly brilliant tonight. A full turkey dinner for around 500 in the Great Hall of the JPL; a gala event, so fancy clothes, many courses and a lounge singer with a live band. I’m not sure how many long and round tables were set tonight – 50? All lit my candlelight and decorated with holiday bling. I sat between Michael Smith and Karl Lohnes; also around the table were Anna and Michael Olsen, Jeremy Parsons, Chris Standring, Elizabeth Baird and Emily Richards – hard to come up with a better group of people to eat dinner with, I think.

Quebec Foie Gras and Pigs in a Blanket

Tri-Colour Potato Chowder
Yukon, Purple and Sweet Potato with Alberta Duck Confit 

The Festive Plate
Wild Boar Terrine and Caramelized Onion, Truffle Roasted Gambas,
Wild Salmon Tartar and Sesame Seeds

Warm Glühwein
Gingerbread Biscotti

Free Range Turkey Carved to Your Liking
Garlic Roasted Mashed Potatoes, Market Vegetables
and Alberta Spring Whiskey Gravy

Granny Smith Spiced Apple Crumble Pie
Vanilla-Cinnamon Ice Cream and Tarragon Anglaise

The brilliant part was masterminded by the food and beverage team at JPL; after our amuse-bouche, soup and appetizer, they asked everyone to look under their coffee cups for a sticker, which would identify one person per table as Turkey Carver. They then brought those (around 50) guests into the kitchen, set them up with aprons, chefs’ hats and platters of turkeys and paraded them back out into the dining room, where they served up their masterfully pre-carved turkeys at their respective tables. With all the trimmings, of course. And even with 500 for dinner, the turkey wasn’t dried out.

My camera malfunctioned, or I’d have more photos to document the evening. I did leave early, considering our private “mixology class” last night and my 9 am session tomorrow. And I’ll need to rest up for round two this weekend.

JPL’s Roast Free Range Turkey

1 (8 to 12 lb) fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
Vegetable oil, if desired
9 oz Alberta Spring whiskey
20 oz of dark chicken stock
Salt and pepper

Be sure turkey is completely thawed. Remove turkey from original wrapper and remove neck and giblets from cavities. Rinse turkey thoroughly with cold water; drain and pat dry with paper towels. Tuck wing tips under back or tie to body. Refasten drumsticks with metal or plastic clip or band of skin.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Place turkey breast-side up on wire rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer into the thickest part of the inner thigh; do not let thermometer touch bone. If desired, brush skin with vegetable oil. Roast uncovered until skin reaches desired brown color; cover loosely with a tent of aluminum foil for remaining time. Roast until thermometer reaches 180°F, approximately 2 ¾ – 3 hours. Remove from oven; let stand 20 minutes before carving.

Remove the extra fat from the roasting and deglaze with Alberta Spring whiskey. Reduce by half and add the dark chicken stock and reduce again by half! Rectify the seasoning and reserve.

The following information is provided for food safety, regarding the timetable for cooking a fresh or thawed turkey in preheated 325°F oven. These times are approximate and should always be used in conjunction with a properly placed thermometer.

8 – 12 lbs 2 ¾ – 3 hours
12 – 14 lbs 3 – 3 ¾ hours
14 – 18 lbs 3 ¾ – 4 ¼ hours
18 – 20 lbs 4 ¼ – 4 ½ hours
20 – 24 lbs 4 ½ – 5 hours

Granny Smith Spiced Apple Crumble Pie

Crust – 9 inch pie:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup each cold butter and lard, cubed
1/8 cup ice water
1 ½ Tbsp sour cream

8 cups thinly sliced peeled apples
2 Tbsp lemon juice
½ cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
½ tsp cinnamon

¾ cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp each granulated sugar and packed brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup cold butter, cubed

Crust: In bowl, whisk flour with salt. Using pastry blender, cut in butter and lard until mixture resembles fine crumbs with a few larger pieces.

In small bowl, whisk water with sour cream; drizzle over dry ingredients, stirring briskly with fork until ragged dough forms. Divide in half; press into discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap; refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. (Make-ahead: refrigerate for up to 3 days.)

Filling: In large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice. Add sugar, flour and cinnamon; toss to combine. Scrape into pie shell.

Topping: In bowl, whisk together flour, granulated and brown sugars and cinnamon. Using pastry blender, cut in butter until crumbly; set aside. On lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to generous 1/8 inch thickness; fit into 9 inch pie plate. Trim to leave ¾ inch overhang; fold under and flute edge. Sprinkle over filling.

Bake in bottom third of 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F; bake for about 80 minutes or until filling is bubbly and thickened. Let cool on rack.



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10 comments on “Day 317: Full-on Turkey Dinner and Apple Crumble Pie

  1. Buddiegirl
    November 13, 2008 at 12:26 am

    That menu is amazing. My mouth is watering just thinking about tasting everything.

    Sounds like you are having a great time and I am glad you can share it with us.

  2. Kathryn
    November 13, 2008 at 7:02 am

    So who carved your turkey?
    Sounds fabulous.
    Perfect dinner companions, for sure.

  3. Dana mccauley
    November 13, 2008 at 7:03 am

    I’m so jealous! I’m home in bed with a sinus infection and you are there having a great meal with a slew of my favourite people. Pass regards around and enjoy!

  4. Bonnie
    November 13, 2008 at 7:03 am

    The dinner sounds wonderful and what interesting table companions. Just reading the menu is making me hungry – at 10 am!

  5. Cheryl
    November 13, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Wow, that’s quite the group of dinner companions! You fit right in.

  6. robyn
    November 13, 2008 at 8:05 am

    My jealousy continues.

  7. Lisa
    November 13, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    My drool is green due to my envy. 😉

  8. Elaine
    November 13, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    This is actually pretty stellar–throughout the week, I’ve been able to read this blog whenever I get hungry. Living vicariously helps with the hunger pangs!

  9. A
    November 13, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Where’s M&W during all this banquetzie. Pilates on Wed babe.

  10. Diana
    November 14, 2008 at 9:21 am

    I attended the Nov 7 -9 weekend package, loved it, and am now living it all over again through Julie. It is quite an event.

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