We cooked two turkeys (9 and 10 lbs) in the bread oven instead of one large bird. It was a brilliant idea - 4 turkey legs to chomp on instead of two! We were hosting nine people for our feast and a larger bird wouldn't fit in the 9" tall door. We had cooked in the oven last weekend (Friday: roast pork tenderloin; Saturday: 2 batches of bread- french baguette, Summit Beer Brown-again bread; Sunday: roasted sea bass with fennel) Most of our roasting is inspired by a book from Barbara Kafka. She is my roasting guru. The roasting method is simple and obviously fool-proof: 500 degrees and an hour for a whole roast chicken. Our turkeys took 1- 1/2 hours at 500 degrees.
On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we fired up the oven to over 400 degrees. That fire burned for about 5 hours. The next morning, we fired it up again before church and by 1:30 it was at 540 degrees. When we started the fire the day before, the temperature was just under 100 degrees. That was all residual heat from three days prior. The weather has been rather warm for a Minnesota November, with temps in the 20s and 30s at night, but we were still awed by the level of heat our oven maintains for days!
Larry put the birds in at 2:00 for a 4:00 dinner time. They were in separate roasting pans - uncovered. And, yes, they did have stuffing in them, despite all the health warnings. In the indoors woodstove, we had a pot of Indian pudding bubbling away for 4 hours. We tried to cook two pumpkin pies in the bread oven first thing Thursday morning, but transferred them to the indoors gas oven when it appeared that the crust was melting, not baking! (the temperature was too low - before we lit a new fire Thursday morning, the oven was at 300 degrees - too cool for pies)
Alas, we have no pictures of our turkeys - you can imagine how hectic it was in the final moments before we gathered at table - two turkeys to carve, the potatoes to mash, the gravy to make (and defend!), drinks to be refilled, never mind the green beans, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry relish and chutney, whew! Elizabeth, Madeleine and Chad were here as was my mom (the cement worker - see first post); my sister, Phyllis and her boyfriend Ed, his lovely daughter, Ann. One person missing was our dear friend Bernard who is with his family again in Kenya. We miss you! After dinner we played games; Boggle and Taboo (love that buzzer!). Friends Letha, Scott and Emily stopped by to play games and sample some raspberry-infused wine from St. Croix vineyards. Thank God for 20-somethings with their amazing energy level! The 50-somethings were beat! And full and happy. And thankful.