All in all - we ate about a third of the bird, which is pretty good for 5 1/2 people! (the 1/2 person was a late arrival)
I had a mini turkey dinner for lunch and then a delicious open-faced turkey sandwich for late dinner - what did I use?
Rye bread topped with mayo, cranberry sauce, caramelized onions, warmed turkey. Mmmmm. It was awesome.
Unfortunately I didn't make my zucchini & carrot pasta, but I'm looking to recover this week with some veggies! Perhaps with some turkey soup? Hahahaha! I did save the carcass of course and I have about 3 cups of drippings (I used a premade restaurant gravy mixed with some fresh drippings) that I can make gravy with. After reserving 7 turkey lunches for tomorrow, I don't actually have too much leftover! I pretty much managed to use up all the sides and have just a bit of onions and brussel sprouts left. It's mostly the 'post' turkey preparations - making stock and gravy really. And finishing up the rest of the turkey meat - but it's terrific protein, so I'll probably be happily snacking on it for the rest of the week.
So did I learn anything? Oh yes. Don't use 2 cups of salt in your brine. Even if the recipe says so. The meat was a touch salty (but then again, I find most things oversalted) so I would also recommend a very thorough rinse. If you can - empty your brining container and fill with fresh cool water for maybe a quick 10 minute soak/rinse to get all the residual salt off. A meat thermometer is key. An instant read for insurance as well. I don't cook large pieces of meat without both. As I mentioned previously - try to integrate as many 'make ahead' dishes as you can - the turkey is work! You don't want to be fussing over your carrot gratin while your "main attraction" is needing some TLC! I purchased a gravy separator and a baster just for the occasion, they definitely came in handy, although not completely essential.
So would I make a turkey again? For sure! But...maybe not a 20lb one. For those who are a little intimidated of making a turkey - don't be! If anything, start small with a chicken and work your way up. A chicken is a perfectly good small-scale test for a turkey - it's basically the same - but a lot (a LOT) smaller. The cooking time is shorter, there's less meat to carve, less juice to process and less leftover to worry about. If there are any leftovers at all!
Thanks for reading!