The Barefoot (Freckled) Contessa

We'll be on the beach for this year's Thanksgiving, which I'm definitely not complaining about. A part of me wishes we were staying in town because I do love Thanksgiving. Last year, I had a moment of insanity and offered to host.....after having just moved into our house 3 weeks prior. If you've seen any of my "before" photos, I think we can all agree that our house was definitely not "guests appropriate". However, we made it work and though the table settings and lack of little placecard-holding gilded acorns would have made Martha cringe, we all had a fantastic time. It's really all about being thankful for the friends and family time isn't it?

Just thought I'd share the turkey recipe I used. It was my first time being in charge of the turkey and with the help of this recipe courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa, it garnered rave reviews from everyone. Crispy golden-brown skin, juicy meat, and bursting with subtle herb flavor--perfection! I know cooking a Thanksgiving turkey can be intimidating, but this was really quite easy and it doesn't require the whole day (if you use a fresh turkey).

image courtesy of the Food Network

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 fresh turkey (10 to 12 pounds) -----> I used a Whole Foods organic turkey last year, highly recommend it!

Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme
1 whole lemon, halved
1 Spanish onion, quartered
1 head garlic, halved crosswise

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the zest and juice of the lemon and 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves to the butter mixture. Set aside.
Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, halved lemon, quartered onion, and the garlic. Brush the outside of the turkey with the butter mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (I also loosened the skin from the flesh and tucked small pats of butter in between--makes it so juicy.) Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.
Roast the turkey about 2 1/2 hours (I basted it every half hour), or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil; let rest for 20 minutes.
Slice the turkey and serve.


A side dish that always makes an appearance is a creamed corn casserole (I try to use a boxed cornbread mix that doesn't contain hydrogenated oils like this one). Your waistline probably won't thank you but your appetite will. Everyone always laughs at me for this, but I usually set out a fresh fruit platter, too. It's the food group most tend to forget about during these gatherings. The funny thing is, it's always the one most people reach for. Maybe we're just weird like that.

Hope your Thanksgiving is lovely!