Turning that turkey carcass into a really good soup (no use making a really mediocre soup, is there?) is a two step process. Most folks just toss everything into a pot with water, and simmer it all together until it is soup. By the time the broth is flavored, the meat and vegetables are washed out. It is much better to make a broth first, and then turn that into your soup du jour. This minestrone is one of my very favorites.
photo by Ben Fink
Are you one of those people who think that leftovers are the best part of the Thanksgiving dinner? I wouldn't go so far as to make that claim, but I do love my Friday hot turkey sandwich with lots of gravy, and I already have a pot of turkey soup on the stove. Outside of these usual suspects, I find that Mexican-style dishes are a terrific way to use use leftover turkey. Turkey tostadas, enchiladas, or tacos are no-brainers, and simple to toss together. My friends Michael and Yukio Meadows have long told me that my Turkey Tamale Pie has become their Thanksgiving weekend tradition. Read on for the recipe.
Everyone needs a sure-fire, crowd-pleasing dip to feed hungry guests while the turkey is in the oven. When ever I make this one (or the Hot Crab Salsa Dip), my reputation as a host is ensured! This one is for Susie, who asked me (in an emergency post) to put this online. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
Thanksgiving doesn't have a Scrooge character. I nominate myself! Actually, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is more accurate, as I have a love-heat relationship with turkey. Let me clarify: I LOVE turkey, as you all know, as long as it is moist and juicy with a burnished, roasted skin and rich gravy. The Dr. Jekyll in me wants everyone to have this turkey, cooked by my Dry-Brine or Perfect Roast methods. The Mr. Hyde side of me grumbles about the various ways to cook a turkey that I hear about day-in-and-day-out. I have a little list, in no particular order.
Brined turkey first made a splash a few years ago in the pages of Cook’s Illustrated, thanks to a recipe in Jean Anderson Jean Jean JJJean 's The Food of Portugal (with a few tips from kosher butchers along the way). The brining concept fooled many cooks into thinking that their turkey was juicier, and a new favorite turkey method was born. I am not a fan of the added flavors (your turkey may taste more like a ham than poultry) and the logistics can be daunting. For my money, if you want a brined turkey, buy a kosher or “self-basting” one, as both have already been treated with salt. And, as anyone who has brined turkey knows, finding room in the refrigerator can be a hassle, although I have a solution for that one. But, for those of you who want to try it and shape your own opinion, here's a recipe that I have taught often in my classes with great success. And I has another interesting aspect--make-ahead gravy.
Oyster stuffing is a "love it or hate it" food. But for many Americans, especially cooks in New England, it is the turkey stuffing of choice. (Call it dressing, if you wish.) My cousin Lisa's husband Mike loves oyster stuffing and always brings it as his offering to the family dinner. So, for Mike, and the rest of you for whom it isn't Thanksgiving without oyster stuffing, here is my version, with shiitake mushrooms and leeks coming along for the ride.
I usually like my holiday turkey unadorned. I feel that if I am going to get a top-notch organic bird, I want to taste the turkey, and not the embellishments. Dry-brining adds flavor to the meat without overwhelming. This recipe, which will taste like it has been roasted without ever seeing a grill, is one of my favorites. The caramelized onion gravy always gets comments like "this is the best gravy I ever had!," and other over-the-top remarks. Serve it when you have a guest list of grownups and a fine bottle of Zinfandel to serve alongside. Keep reading for the instructions...
I have had Thanksgiving dinners where I didn't want a large bird. One time, I was leaving on a trip the next day, and I didn't want leftovers. Another time, because of work schedules, there were only a four of us at the table. Here is a wonderful turkey dish for when you don't need to go the whole hog.
I promised a turkey a day, but I have had a lot of questions about gravy in my classes. I understand the dilemma, as the way that most of us were taught to make gravy almost ensures lumps. My grandma simply stirred (she didn't have a whisk to smooth out lumps) flour into the fatty pan drippings to make a paste, and then added giblet stock. If you think of gravy as a sauce, made with a roux of turkey fat and flour with stock (and the degreased drippings), you'll have success. Want to learn more?
Last week, I was the presenter in a podcast on how to stock your pantry for holiday entertaining. The clients included Frito-Lay Tostitos, Idahoan Mashed Potatoes, Bauducco Panettone, Soda Stream Home Soda Maker, and Soda sSkyBar One Wine Chiller (available at Bed, Bath and Beyond). To see the podcast, click here.
Sixty-six 4-star reviews can't be wrong! If you are looking for the best turkey ever, your search as ended. I created this recipe for roast turkey with an herb-salt rub two years ago for Bon Appétit, and people are still posting raves at epicurious. I love the simplicity of my perfect roast turkey, but I know that people like to try a new recipe every now and then. Here's how it works...
Many of my friends have already called or emailed me questions on how to do the holiday bird. So far, I've had a question on "to rinse or not to rinse," advice on grilling, and tips for deep-frying, and more. There's no reason why you can't jump in.
So, you feel like giving deep-fried turkey a try? OK, but don't say that I didn't warn you. (Somehow, I don't feel warm and toasty about a cooking method that almost burned down my friend's garage.) Here's my recipe, with lots of tips and caveats.
Grilling and brining are two “new” ways to roast turkey. At home, I rarely brine my turkey because brining introduces a new (and to my mind, totally unnecessary) flavor to the bird. Grilling imparts a delicious smokiness, so I will brine a turkey for that method. Also, due the heat fluctuations that can occur with the grill, it might do well to have an extra measure of protection against overcooking. Here’s my go-to method for grilled turkey.
There used to be only one way to roast a turkey--stick in a pan and roast it in the oven. However, without a little attention to the details, you can end up with a dry bird. Fixing the problem of keeping the breast meat moist is very easy. In fact, it is so easy that no one wants to believe me.
Photo by Ben Fink
I just taught my last Thanksgiving class of the year yesterday, clearing the way to prepare for my own feast. I use this as my excuse for not posting recently.
My dear friend Harriet Bell came to this site looking for my classic turkey recipe, and noticed that it wasn't posted. I guess it didn't get transferred from my old URL site. Whatever the reason, this had to be fixed! But it also reminded me that I have a treasure trove of turkey recipes to share. Here's my solution...