This is really a no-brainer, connect the dots, easy-peasy holiday, which is why it takes place in most U.S. homes year after year without disaster. It’s the club sandwich, Bloody Mary, bowl of cereal kind of cooking. Add milk.
First, buy the bird or birds. I buy two each year so there are leftovers to go with the good bread and bacon the first morning after the guests have returned to their homes. You want to buy heirloom birds? Go ahead. “Heirloom” has no scientific or culinary significance, and hats off to the marketing people who came up with it, but at twice the price and the same flavor? You’re better off getting a bird from Amish country in Pennsylvania.
Don’t brine. Brining adds liquid, of course, which means that the skin won’t be crispy. And, face it, next to the stuffing, it’s all about the skin.
Instead, add a lot of salt and cracked black pepper and tuck good Amish butter under the skin and cover with foil or cheesecloth and roast at 450 for about twenty minutes and then at 300 for three hours for 12-14 pound birds. Baste with broth while roasting: Miso or chicken.
Stuffing? Everything but the kitchen sink. This year it’s Arborio rice, walnuts, dried porcini, eggs, celery, butter, miso broth, and chicken sausages.
Sides? Cranberries, leeks, kale, and tiny pumpkins.
Start to finish, the prep is about 30 minutes. Cooking, as noted, which is the use of the oven and quick stovetop for vegetables, is about 30 minutes.