Thanksgiving is a holiday in the United States in which families and friends gather to share. It’s day of celebration full of beautiful traditions,  a day to give thanks.

One of the biggest holidays in the United States, and in turn, around the world, is Thanksgiving. This celebration that has become popular thanks to globalization and television. For those of us who are not from the US, we’ve always been fascinated by the delicious meal, the meaning of the holiday, and the festive spirit that surrounds the celebration.

There is much debate about origin of this holiday, such as when the first Thanksgiving might have been held in the United States and if the holiday originated there or on the old continent. What the history books say is that the first Thanksgiving took place in the year 1621 between the Pilgrims and the Native American Wampanoag tribe in Plymouth. Subsequently, different celebrations were held to give thanks, but it wasn’t until in 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday for the last Thursday of November of each year. The tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November is thanks to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Today, Thanksgiving is a day when families come together to reminisce, cook, and spend time surrounded by loved ones. Many return home to visit their parents, and some spend the holiday with their chosen families. The celebration is full of traditions that are different for every family and have been passed from generation to generation. These traditions can vary from cooking Thanksgiving dinner together, watching the football game, playing games while waiting for the food, or enjoying the Macy’s parade in New York. For the little ones, many families break out the board games or line up some holiday movies on Netflix. No matter the activity, the important thing is doing it with the people we love, the friends and family members who, even if we don’t see them every day, we love deeply.

One of the most important parts of this holiday is the feast. Not only is it significant because the activity brings family together, it’s important because every household prepares its own special dishes like turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. And although the recipes may vary depending on the family, certain dishes have come to represent the holiday. The most popular of these dishes is turkey, which is practically the official Thanksgiving food. According to the National Turkey Federation, about 90% of American households eat turkey on Thanksgiving.

I’m sure that each of you have a special way of preparing your Thanksgiving turkey, whether roasted or fried. But if you are reading this and have no idea how to cook a turkey, here’s an easy, straightforward recipe that helped me the first times I had to do this important Thanksgiving task.

Seasoned Roast Turkey

Ingredients:

  • 1 turkey weighing 5-7 kilos
  • 3 small onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 chopped celery stalks
  • 3 branches of rosemary
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • ½ package of butter
  • 2 lemons
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh ground pepper

Preparation day:

1. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water.

2. Store the neck and giblets in a baking dish.

3. Pat the whole turkey dry with paper towels.

4. Season the inside of the bird with ½ tablespoon of salt.

5. Season the outside of the turkey with 1 ½ tablespoon of salt.

6. Refrigerate the turkey uncovered for 8 hours.

Cooking day: 

  1. Before roasting, let the turkey rest at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. Dry it very well with paper towels.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  3. Place a bed of vegetables in the turkey pan. Add the celery, carrots, chopped onions, giblets, and turkey neck, plus 2 bay leaves and two branches of rosemary.
  4. Then grab the butter (at room temperature) and spread it over the whole turkey, from the thighs to the legs, trying to cover all of the skin.
  5. Season the turkey again with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Tie the turkey’s legs together with a string.
  7. Place the turkey on the bed of vegetables in the roasting pan. 
  8. Add two halved lemons, 1 sprig of rosemary, 2 sprigs of thyme ,and 2 bay leaves to the inside of the turkey to give the bird a citrusym aromatic flavor.
  9. Pour some olive oil over the turkey.
  10. Insert a thermometer into the fattiest part of the bird.
  11. Cover the turkey with a little aluminum foil, leaving the thermometer exposed.
  12. Lower the oven temperature to 180 degrees Celsius and put the turkey in (calculate 35 minutes per kilo). The turkey thermometer should read a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius.
  13. Check your turkey once or twice and take a little of the fat from the base of the pan and baste it on the turkey so that it doesn’t not dry out and it retains flavor. Always remember to put the aluminum foil back on.
  14. Half an hour before the end of the cooking time, remove the aluminum foil so that the skin can get crispy and golden.
  15. Let the finished turkey stand for at least an hour and a half before serving.

And there you have it: an easy recipe for a delicious, flavorful Thanksgiving turkey. There are thousands of recipes out there, all with different flavors, aromas, and cooking methods. This recipe contains classic flavors and is easy and straightforward to follow. As side dishes, you can prepare rich mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, delicious gravy (tip: use the vegetables and giblets from the turkey prep as the base for the gravy) and an exquisite pumpkin or apple pie for dessert.

I hope you enjoy the holiday season. Remember that the most important thing is spending it surrounded by loved ones.

XO

Sira 

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