And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: tasty recipes (and tips) for your turkey feast, plus how to repackage your leftover bird:
Brined Roasted Turkey
The brining process—i.e., saturating with water and salt—is a favorable way to prepare turkey, resulting in a moister product. Salt has been used in poultry and meat processing for centuries to add flavor and provide extra moisture.
During the soaking process, the water is locked within the turkey. As the cooking process begins, the heat seals the proteins and forms a barrier to keep the liquids from escaping.
Since brining does not preserve the turkey, along with the fact that it is raw, it must be kept below 40 degrees F throughout the entire brining process. If refrigerator space is limited, the brining process should be done with the use of ice packs to ensure the turkey stays below 40 degrees F during the brining time. Another trick is to brine the turkey in salted ice water in an “ice cooler,” which can even be put outside. Since we live in the northeast, many times the temperature will be below 40 degrees outside, so you can just brine the turkey in a large stockpot on a backyard table (just make sure it doesn’t freeze!).
2 gallons water
2 cups kosher salt
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
• To make the brine, combine the water, salt and brown sugar in a stockpot. Add more water, if needed. For every extra gallon of water, add one more cup of salt, but not sugar.
• Store in the refrigerator overnight, if the turkey can fit; otherwise, the turkey can be stored outside overnight in a cooler with ice or in a container large enough to hold turkey (make sure the temperature is 38 degrees F or below, and that the turkey is well covered).
• In the morning, wash the turkey off.
1 16-17 lb. turkey
1 large onion, halved, cut into 1-inch-wide wedges
1 Granny Smith apple, cut into 1-inch-wide wedges
6 bay leaves, crumbled
7 tbsp. butter, room temperature, divided
• Set a rack at the lowest position in the oven, and preheat to 450 degrees F. Sprinkle main cavity with pepper. Place onion wedges, apple wedges and crumbled bay leaves in the cavity. Starting at the neck end, carefully slide your hand between the skin and the breast meat of the turkey to loosen the skin. Rub 4 tablespoons of butter over the breast meat under the skin. Place the turkey on a rack set in a large roasting pan. Tuck wing tips under. Tie legs together loosely to hold shape. Rub remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. If needed, base with chicken broth.
• Place the turkey in the oven and, after 45 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Roast the turkey one hour, basting once with pan drippings. Roast until a thermometer that’s inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers 170 degrees F, basting once with pan drippings and covering turkey loosely with foil if browning too quickly, about one hour longer.
• Transfer the turkey to a platter; cover loosely with foil. Let the turkey rest 20-30 minutes (the internal temperature of the turkey will increase 5-10 degrees). Serve turkey with gravy (recipe below).
2 tbsp. butter
2 turkey wings and 1 turkey neck (giblets optional)
1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
2 stalks celery
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups chicken broth
3/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup of milk or cream (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
• In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, sauté onions, garlic, carrots and celery for 3-5 minutes without browning onions.
• Add broth with wings and neck (and giblets, if using). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Remove neck, wings and giblets (if using), and skim off excess fat on top. Remove a 1/4 cup of the broth and set aside, allowing to cool. Bring the broth in the pan back to a boil. Add the cornstarch to the cooled broth slowly, stirring in a steady stream until desired thickness.
• Chop up the meat of the wings, neck and giblets (if using). Add meat back to the broth. Add 1 cup of milk or cream, if desired.
Apricot and Herb Stuffing:
4 tbsp. European-style butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 tbsp. chopped fresh garlic
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup dried bread cubes
1/3 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried sage
1/2 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
• Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
• Heat the butter in a large sauté pan. Sauté the onion and garlic for about five minutes over medium heat. Add the celery and scallions, and sauté for two more minutes.
• In a large bowl, mix the onion mixture with all the remaining ingredients. Place the stuffing in a wall-greased baking dish, and bake for one hour.
Chef Coleman’s suggested cooking times (for an un-stuffed bird):
4-6 lb. breast: 1 1/2-2 1/4 hours
6-8 lb. breast: 2 1/4-3 1/4 hours
8-12 lbs.: 2 3/4-3 hours
12-14 lbs.: 3-3 3/4 hours
14-18 lbs.: 3 3/4-4 1/4 hours
18-20 lbs.: 4 1/4-4 1/2 hours
20-24 lbs.: 4 1/2-5 hours
Chef Coleman’s Cooking Tips:
• It’s best to thaw the turkey in the refrigerator. A good rule of thumb is that a turkey needs 24 hours to thaw for every 4-5 pounds.
• Though many cooks do, Chef Coleman does not stuff his turkey. First, it’s safer not to stuff the bird, actually. Stuffing needs to get to 165 degrees F when it’s being cooked. But to get to that temperature inside the turkey, the rest of the turkey will be overcooked. Second, he makes his stuffing the night before (Thanksgiving should be about family and football; not all day in the kitchen). And third, if you want that “stuffed turkey” flavor, just baste the stuffing with the turkey pan juices.
• For the first time ever, the government has lowered the recommended temperature needed to cook a turkey. They figured out that 165 degrees F is best. That’s fine—but remember your turkey does not stop cooking just because you remove it from the oven. So pull it out when it reads between 155 and 160 degrees, and after resting, it will come up to 165.
• The resting time for turkey should be no less than 20 minutes, and Chef Coleman actually prefers 30-45 minutes. He recommends loosely tenting the turkey with foil. The turkey will easily stay very hot for up to an hour. The reason for resting is so it can finish cooking, and so its natural juices redistribute themselves. Many people carve it right away, and then the juices run out all over their cutting boards (a surefire way to get a dry bird!).
• Chef Coleman likes to use disposable roasting and baking pans. He tries to make sure that facing a huge sink of dirty dishes when the meal is complete doesn’t spoil the Thanksgiving spirit. Also, this is a great way to store the leftovers—from stove to fridge.
From Savona Executive Chef Andrew Masciangelo
2 oz. unsalted butter
1 lb. diced baguette, crust removed
13 oz. foie gras, small dice
1 oz. burgundy truffle, brunoise
12 oz. celery root, small dice
6 oz. shallot, brunoise
1 oz. parsley, chopped
1 oz. chives, chopped
1 oz. black truffle oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
• In a large, hot sauté pan, add the foie gras and disburse evenly in the pan; also add butter and melt completely. Let cook for about 20 seconds, and then add the bread.
• After the bread has absorbed the fat from the foie gras (about 30 seconds), add the celery root, shallots and brunoise truffle. Allow the stuffing to cook for five minutes before removing from heat.
• Season with salt and pepper. Place on a tray, sprinkle chopped parsley and chives, and drizzle truffle oil on top while still hot. Let the stuffing cool, and mix thoroughly.
Chef’s Note: Chestnuts and apples, or other seasonal ingredients, can also be added.
From Maia Executive Chef Patrick Feury
12 oz. fresh cranberries
1/2 cup honey (he uses Cross Creek Farm)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 orange zest, finely grated
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 tsp. white pepper
• In a food possessor, finely chop the cranberries. Then combine all the ingredients together, and let sit for 48 hours in a refrigerator.
The culinary team at Friday Saturday Sunday in Philly knows.
Chili Elizabeth Taylor
1 lb. leftover dark-meat turkey (leg and thigh), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 onion, minced
2 tbsp. chili powder (New Mexico chili powder, if possible)
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. red pepper (cayenne)
8-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. masa flour (available where Spanish foods are sold)
4 cups water
Cornbread batter (a mix or made from scratch)
Slice of jalapeño or red Thai chili pepper, for garnish
Note: All of these ingredients are available at the Reading Terminal Market.
• In a heavy, large pot or skillet, add all the ingredients, except the mesa flour. Add 4 cups of water and simmer for one hour.
• In a 1/4 cup of warm water, stir the mesa flour into a loose paste or slurry. Stir this into the chili. (It will thicken and add a southwest flavor to the chili.)
• Check for seasoning and degree of hot spice. Adjust, if necessary.
• Fill a 10-ounce ovenproof ramekin 3/4 full with the chili. Pour cornbread batter to the top.
• Bake in a 400-degree-F oven for 20 minutes, or until the cornbread is golden brown. Serve with black beans on the side, with a dollop of sour cream on the beans and some minced green onions. (Note: A little red Thai chili pepper makes a nice garnish poked into a hole on the cornbread crust—but do not eat this garnish, as it is extremely hot.)
Martha Washington’s Turkey Turnovers
From City Tavern Chef/Proprietor Walter Staib*, adapted from the City Tavern Cookbook
Makes 18 3-inch turnovers and serves 6:
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 lb. smoked, cooked turkey meat, finely chopped
1 yellow squash, finely chopped
1 zucchini, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup demi-glace
1 sheet of purchased puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
• In a medium saucepan, sauté the onion, shallots and garlic in the butter over medium heat for three to four minutes, until translucent. Stir in the turkey, yellow squash and zucchini.
• Add the wine to deglaze the pan, loosening any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
• Add the parsley and thyme. Cook the mixture over medium heat for about five minutes, until it becomes dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
• Add the demi-glace. Reduce the heat and simmer for about three minutes, until it reduces and becomes thick.
• Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and reserve.
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
• On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry sheet; cut the pastry into 18 3-1/2-inch squares. Brush the edges of the puff pastry squares with the beaten egg.
• Divide the turkey mixture into 18 equal portions. Place one portion in the center of each puff pastry square.
• Fold each square over diagonally to form a triangle, and press the edges firmly to seal.
• Pierce the pastry with a fork so the steam can escape.
• Place on a baking sheet, and bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and serve.
* Philadelphia’s culinary ambassador, Staib will be honored by the German-American Chamber of Commerce at its annual gala Friday, Nov. 21, at the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel in Philadelphia. In presenting its Leadership and Service Award, the GACC is recognizing Staib’s role as culinary ambassador across the Atlantic, as well as his unique and long-standing contributions to the local German-American business community.
(Overnight preparation required)
4 medium Yukon gold potatoes (skin on or off, depending on preference)
12 oz. roasted whole turkey breast (Dietz & Watson’s pre-roasted Classic Homestyle Breast of Turkey works best if you don’t actually have any leftovers)
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 medium onions, julienned
1 green bell pepper, julienned
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
2 tsp. 18th Century Herb Rub (available at citytavern.com)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 bunch (1/4 cup) chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
8 poached eggs, for serving
• Cook the potatoes whole in a pot of salted boiling water until fork-tender. Drain, and refrigerate overnight to cool.
• Slice the potatoes into 1/4-by-2-inch slices, and set aside.
• Slice the turkey breast into 1/4-by-2-inch slices, and set aside.
• In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook until golden brown, one to two minutes.
• Add the onions and peppers, and cook until the liquid has been released and evaporated, four to five minutes.
• Add the turkey and cook three to four minutes, stirring very gently so as not to break up the pieces.
• Toss in the potatoes, again stirring gently so as not to mush the potatoes. Add salt, pepper and herb rub. Cook until the potatoes are heated through, about five to six minutes.
• Remove from heat and transfer to a large serving platter. Sprinkle with the parsley and top with the poached eggs.
There are plenty of places that will happily play host to you and your family. Below are a few menus that fell into my inbox over the past couple of weeks.
Inn at St. Peter’s Village: Low gas prices are a great excuse to take a scenic tour of western Chester County. The Inn at St. Peter’s Village will be offering its Thanksgiving feast from noon until 4 p.m. (reservations required). The prix fixe menu costs $45, plus 6-percent sales tax and 20-percent gratuity.
Butternut squash and green apple soup
Harvest salad with apple, pear, pomegranate, toasted pecans and sherry walnut vinaigrette
Oven-roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, chestnut stuffing, cranberry sauce and turkey gravy
Apricot-and-date-stuffed boneless pork chops, whipped yams and Cajun corn pudding
Pan-seared Atlantic salmon, French green lentils, sautéed spinach and mustard herb butter
Dessert (choice of one):
Pumpkin pie, apple pie, ice cream or sorbet
3471 St. Peter’s Road, St. Peter’s Village; 610-469-2600, innatsaintpetersvillage.com.
Closer to Home: The General Warren Inne will serve its sit-down supper from noon to 8 p.m., featuring the following dishes.
First Course (choice of one):
• The Inne’s famous snapper soup served with sherry
• Lobster bisque
• General Warren house salad with baby mixed greens, red and yellow cherry tomatoes, English cucumber, baby leeks and aged balsamic raspberry vinaigrette, topped with Cajun pecans
• Spinach salad with roasted red and yellow peppers, marinated crimini mushrooms, shaved red onion and pancetta crisp tossed in a white balsamic feta vinaigrette
Entrée Course* (choice of one):
• The General Warren Traditional Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner with slow-roasted Tom Turkey, stuffing, candied sweet potatoes, vegetables, garlic potato puree, pan gravy and homemade cranberry sauce ($34; $15.95/children under 10)
• Grilled filet mignon with a cabernet black pepper glaze ($48)
• Penne pasta with shrimp and sea scallops, sun dried tomatoes, caramelized onion, crab and brie cheese ($42)
• Sautéed lump crab cake with lemon sage lavender crème fraîche ($43)
• Grilled mustard herb glazed Atlantic salmon fillet with garlic and smoked paprika crème ($39)
* Entrée price includes first course and choice of dessert.
Old Lancaster Highway, Malvern; (610) 296-3637, generalwarren.com.
Pond Restaurant in Radnor will also be open on Thanksgiving with a buffet from 1-7 p.m. The buffet will include a variety of appetizers from Chef Abde Dahrouch, including butternut squash soup, hearty salads, pastas and sides, along with a carving station brimming with roasted turkey, stuffing and giblet gravy, roasted pork loin with mustard sauce, and prime rib with green peppercorn jus.
Seafood offerings will include sautéed Norwegian salmon with braised red cabbage, mussels Provençal, and a seafood medley with horseradish cream sauce. For dessert, Pond will offer traditional favorites and decadent creations like Tahitian vanilla bean mousse sponge cake and bittersweet chocolate mousse cake with hazelnut crust—hazelnut toffee with layers of chocolate Génoise cake filled with hazelnut mousse.
$54/adults, $25/children under 12. 175 King of Prussia Road, Radnor; (610) 293-9411, pondrestaurant.com.
And in Town: Fairmount restaurant London Grill will offer a festive, seasonal buffet from 4-7 p.m. For $35 ($20/children 11 and under), guests can enjoy an all-you-can-eat meal of holiday favorites. On Chef Michael McNally’s Thanksgiving menu: roasted heirloom turkey, sausage-cornbread stuffing, Hoppin’ Jon’s stone ground grits, sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, and autumn greens and collards with raisins and pine nuts, as well as a selection of yummy desserts for a sweet finish. American wines, autumn beers, cider and cranberry cocktails will also be available; however, prices do not include alcohol, tax or gratuity.
Reservations are required. 2301 Fairmount Ave., (215) 978-4545, londongrill.com.
For a Bird’s Eye View of the City of Brotherly Love and a Contemporary Twist on Your Favorite Holiday Fare: XIX is the perfect spot. From 1-6:30 p.m., enjoy a cozy, delicious afternoon filled with trips to a connoisseur-worthy Thanksgiving buffet, plus live music. The lavish buffet will include selections from the raw bar; carrot and parsley salad with ginger, garam masala and citrus vinaigrette; spiced pumpkin soup with sage cream; traditional carved turkey with gravy or farmhouse cranberry sauce; black-pepper-crusted rib eye with au jus or red wine beef sauce; chunky mashed potatoes with roasted garlic; spiced autumn squash casserole; and cornbread stuffing with mushrooms, turkey sausage and herbs.
$65/adults, $32/children; tax and gratuity not included. 200 S. Broad St., Philadelphia; (215) 893-1234, hyatt.com.