This year I am once again helping Ted’s mom put her Thanksgiving meal on the table. Partly for practice and partly to do it my own way, I’m making various Thanksgiving dishes in the run-up to the day. This week I made a turkey. I had one of the Diestel Family Turkey Ranch Heidi’s Hens in the freezer, an Oregon Tilth certified free range bird. It spent four days thawing in the refrigerator, half a day submerged in cold water, then a couple of hours in the oven coated with salt and butter. This resulted in a crispy brown bird. It was a little dry, I think because I pulled it out at 170 and the carry over cooking carried it farther than I wanted. Still, it was awfully good.

I’ve learned to treat turkey as basically a big chicken, it has more or less the same percentage of fat, and cooks with the same techniques. I have to say, though, it’s a bigger bird. It made a main dish meal, then a casserole, and I still have a large container of meat left in the refrigerator, and the carcass made quite a few containers of stock, which I expect to use pretty much like chicken stock.

The casserole was one of those classic American dishes.

Turkey and rice casserole
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water
4 cups diced turkey
White sauce

Cook basmati rice in cups water.
Saute mushrooms (tonight I used shitakes and chanterelles).

White sauce:
3 tbs butter
3 tbs flour
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt or sour cream

Heat flour and butter together until they form a paste. Add liquid, bring to a boil, and whisk until smooth.

Combine rice, turkey, mushrooms, and white sauce in casserole dish. Top with parmesan. Bake at 350′ for 40 minutes.

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