How to Cook a Turkey in Spain: Thanksgiving Time

Santiago Thanksgiving was celebrated with two parties and way too much food (and wine, can’t forget about that).

Quila and I had decided that we would host a Thanksgiving dinner at our flat on the following Saturday, mostly because working all day is not conducive to cooking a turkey. However, things became slightly complicated.

Thanksgiving Part 1

Thursday evening I was walking home after my 9 p.m. lesson and hoping that the rain would hold off until I got on my bus. As I waited for the bus, I heard the sound of English voices (When English speakers make up less than 1% of the population, you get very adept at picking out the intonations and sounds from the background noise of Castellaño) and greeted some of my American friends. Turns out they were waiting for the same bus as me…to go to my house!

Turns out someone had got their wires crossed and thought our Thanksgiving dinner was on Thanksgiving Day, not the following weekend. Unfortunately for the girls, it meant we had a pile of mashed potatoes, 2 pies, and assorted goodies to deal with.
Now, as it happened I did know of another Thanksgiving dinner, which WAS scheduled for that Thursday. And they would definitely appreciate extra tasty goodies. It took a few minutes on the phone, some hopeless GoogleMapping before we gave up and decided to hop into a taxi, entertaining the driver with the delicious-smelling pots of food we’d brought into his car.

Party number one involved a house crammed full of Brits and Americans, with the occasional local thrown into the mix. I had to reassure a worried British Seb that, no, it was physically impossible that we’d run out out of food on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Part 2
However…the Saturday that followed was even more epic, and food-filled!

The 7 kilo Turkey!

Quila had ordered a turkey from the street market last week. And the butcher agreed that he could get a 5 kilo turkey for us, no problem. However, apparently Galician turkeys are fat because when Quila went to pick up the bird, it was 7 kilos!

We brined it in the kitchen sink with a ton of salt. A floating turkey with a couple pinfeathers still attached looks quite gross anywhere in your kitchen, I might add.
I made my yummy rice stuffing, using fresh herbs. Apparently the Abastos market has most every herb you can imagine, as long as you’re okay with using fresh ingredients. Mmmm.

Stuffing cooking

We decorated the place while waiting for the massive turkey of massiveness to cook. Apparently having 2 more kilos of turkey than you planned on cooking means that dinner is delayed a little bit.

Quila decorating

Luckily for us, Spanish expectations about their dinner times are quite flexible. We hung around and drank wine and ate pinchos while waiting for the turkey to stop spurting blood when I check it. 

In the end, we had enough food for everyone to eat, and eat, and eat some more! At some point I must have slipped into a pleasant wine and food coma

And because we are in Spain, we decided to go out after devouring mountains of food.


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