Saturday, November 22, 2014

Making Gravy 101 - It's almost Turkey time!

What's turkey without the gravy?

Super simple and very tasty.  Here's a how-to that explains it all.  And here's two great recipes that will give you perfect gravy for your holiday.



Making Gravy


The perfect complement to roast turkey and dressing, turkey gravy is especially delicious when made from the pan juices thickened with roux (a mixture of butter and flour) and enhanced with turkey or chicken stock. You can also flavor the gravy with sherry, Madeira or other wine.  (this is my favorite gravy recipe!) 

Turkey Gravy
3/4 cup water
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
2 cups turkey or chicken stock
2 Tbs. dry sherry, Madeira or other wine (optional) (we used balsamic vinegar the other day!)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste




1. Skim and discard any fat from the juices in the roasting pan. Or use a gravy separator and pour the defatted juices back into the pan.


2. Add the water to the pan and place over medium heat. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Transfer the juices to a bowl.


3. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter until bubbly. Add the flour and whisk rapidly for a few seconds to cook the flour.
4. Rapidly whisk in the reserved pan juices and the stock. Cook until smooth and thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sherry and season with salt and pepper.


5. If desired, pour the gravy through a fine-mesh sieve into a warmed sauceboat or wide-mouthed pitcher. Makes 2 to 2 1/2 cups gravy.

article and pictures courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

Here's another great gravy recipe that you can make ahead...and save yourself some time!


Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

Makes 4 cups
Ingredients


2 1/4 pounds turkey drumsticks
3 carrots, cut into pieces
1 large onion, quartered
6 fresh parsley sprigs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Salt to taste


Preparation
1. Brown Drumsticks and Veggies: Preheat oven to 400°. Pat drumsticks dry. Cook drumsticks and next 3 ingredients in hot oil in a large roasting pan over medium-high heat. Cook drumsticks 3 minutes on each side; cook vegetables, at the same time, stirring often.
2. Reserve Flavorful Pan Drippings: Bake drumsticks and vegetables in pan at 400° for 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of drumsticks registers 160°. Remove from oven. Remove and discard vegetables and parsley using a slotted spoon. Reserve drumsticks for another use.
3. Whisk in Chicken Broth and Stir Until Smooth: Whisk flour into hot drippings in pan, and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth until smooth. Whisk in pepper.

4. Cook Gravy to Thicken and Develop Flavor: Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally. Reduce heat to medium, and gently boil, whisking occasionally, 45 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt to taste

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How to Roast a Turkey 101


Roasting the Turkey


The information that follows includes general guidelines for roasting a turkey.


What Size Turkey to Buy
To ensure ample servings for Thanksgiving dinner as well as generous leftovers, allow for 1 to 1 1/4 lb. of turkey per person.

What Size Pan to Use
For best results, roast your turkey on a wire rack in an open roasting pan. Because of the turkey's weight, a sturdy pan with good handles is recommended. If you use a foil roasting pan, double it for extra strength and take special care when transferring it into and out of the oven.


Turkey Weight               Minimum Pan Size

Up to 12 lb.                      14" x 10" x 2 3/4" high (small)

Up to 16 lb.                      15 3/4" x 12" x 3" high (medium)

Up to 20 lb.                      16" x 13" x 3" high (large)


Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting. Do not leave the turkey at room temperature longer than 1 hour.

Roasting an Unstuffed Turkey
The times listed below are calculated for an unstuffed turkey brought to room temperature and roasted at 400°F, breast side down, for the first 45 minutes, then turned breast side up and roasted at 325°F until done.


Turkey Weight                           Approximate Roasting Time

10 to 12 lb.                                   2 1/2 to 3 hours

12 to 14 lb.                                   2 3/4 to 3 1/4 hours

14 to 16 lb.                                   3 to 3 3/4 hours

16 to 18 lb.                                   3 1/4 to 4 hours

18 to 20 lb.                                   3 1/2 to 4 1/4 hours

20+ lb.                                           3 3/4 to 4 1/2 hours


   
Roasting a Stuffed Turkey

Stuff the turkey just before putting it in the oven (do not stuff it earlier). Spoon the dressing loosely into the body and neck cavities. Do not overfill, as the dressing will expand during roasting. Truss the turkey (see related tip at left).

To facilitate removing the stuffing, first line the inside of the cavity with a double layer of cheesecloth, allowing it to extend beyond the cavity by a few inches. Then spoon the stuffing inside. After roasting the bird, gently pull the overhanging cheesecloth and the stuffing will slip out easily, neatly tucked inside the cheesecloth.

To ensure that a stuffed turkey cooks evenly, roast the bird slowly, breast side up, at 325°F, covering the breast loosely with foil for the first two-thirds of the roasting time. Using the chart above, add about 30 minutes to the total cooking time for stuffed birds weighing 16 lb. or less, and about 1 hour for birds weighing more than 16 lb.

Additional Tips
1. After taking the turkey out of the oven, let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes. This allows time for some of the juices to be absorbed back into the meat, which makes it easier to carve and more moist.

2. If roasting a stuffed bird, remove all of the stuffing at serving time.

3. After dinner, remove any remaining meat from the bones and refrigerate the leftovers.


article and picture courtesy of Williams-Sonoma



My Favorite turkey recipe....the compound butter is the secret ingredient!


Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter

By Tyler Florence

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 3 hr 0 min
Serves: 10 to 12 servings

1 (12 to 14) pound fresh turkey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sage Butter, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and remove the top rack of the oven.

Rinse the bird thoroughly inside and out with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the cavity and skin liberally with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with stuffing and, if required, truss the legs. Cover the turkey with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Push the sage butter under the skin of the turkey, being careful not to puncture the skin.

Put the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan, and into the oven. Continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh registers 170 degrees F. The thigh juices will run clear when pricked with a knife, about 3 hours total (15 minutes per pound). If the legs or breast brown too quickly during roasting, cover them with foil.

Sage Butter:
2 sticks butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped sage
Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Thanksgiving Desserts: It's all about pumpkin!



What is Thanksgiving without dessert?
Not a true Thanksgiving in my book!

We look forward to something with pumpkin, usually a pie, every year.  Everyone just loves pumpkin in my family so it's a favorite tradition of ours.

I usually make the dessert the day before Thanksgiving.  It's a good make ahead item and helps you save on pressure on the big day.

I'm bringing you four of my favorite desserts.  I hope you enjoy them.


Pumpkin Pie with Orange Marmalade - This is my new favorite pie.  The orange marmalade gives this a bright, fresh flavor.  I'll be making this pie this year as well.




Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

Pumpkin Creme Brulee - An elegant dessert to serve instead of pie.   Kitchen Tip: You can also use leftover pie to make the brulee the day after Thanksgiving, crust and all!





LIBBY'S Famous Pumpkin Pie - a classic pie!  I grew up on this and it has been my go to pie for years.



Pumpkin Cobbler - a new favorite.  Warm comfort food at it's best!

Happy Thanksgiving!



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