Turkey Can Be Served In Many Ways


Photo Credit: icoNYCa

The Thanksgiving dinner is usually attended by family and friends plus one regular guest: the Thanksgiving turkey. There are several theories about how this bird became a permanent fixture of Thanksgiving celebrations. Purists are careful to say this bird may or may not have been in the original menu when the Wampanoag Indians and the Colonists celebrated the year’s harvest. Despite this ambiguity, having this dish at the center of the table has been the quintessential culinary symbol of Thanksgiving through the centuries.

The time honored way of preparing this bird in the United States is to roast it in an oven and serve it with gravy, cranberry sauce, cornbread, and yams. Through the years, however, cooks all world have found new ways to give this dish their personal mark. You now have oven roasted, rotisserie broiled, barbecued, and deep fried. Moreover, even the usual side dishes have changed a bit in many homes.

Martha Stewart’s Turkey with Brown Sugar Glaze

Celebrity lifestyle doyenne Martha Stewart offers her readers a total of thirty-eight turkey recipes, including this method and a host of others, in Thanksgiving Turkey and Main Dishes.

In one of her interesting variations, Turkey with Brown Sugar Glaze, she adds the flavor of brown sugar to the bird’s crusty skin. Her recipe calls for a twelve-pound turkey, carrots, celery, onions, unsalted butter, salt, pepper, cider vinegar, orange zest, and half a cup of dark drown sugar.

In her cooking instructions, she says, “Place neck, giblets, carrots, celery, and onion in a heavy-bottomed metal roasting pan. Set a roasting rack over vegetables and coat with cooking spray.

“Tuck wing tips underneath body of turkey. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Rub turkey all over with 2 tablespoons butter; season with salt and pepper. Place turkey on rack in pan; roast on bottom oven rack until golden brown, 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Add 2 cups water to pan; roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of a thigh reads 125 degrees, about 1 hour…”

To create the glaze, she cooks the vinegar, the sugar, and orange juice in a saucepan till thick and syrupy; she then adds two tablespoons of butter and orange zest. She then bastes the bird every 15 minutes until it is done. The pan drippings of course become the basic ingredient for her gravy.

Ina Garten’s Turkey with Truffle Butter

Ina Garten, host of the show Barefoot Contessa, named after her gourmet restaurant in the Hamptons, also shares several turkey recipes. Her Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter provides a sophisticated departure from the usual holiday offering. The truffle flavor is spread through the turkey very carefully. She says, “Working from the large cavity end, gently run your fingers between the skin and the meat to loosen the skin, taking care not to tear the skin. (Be careful not to do this with rings on your fingers!) Place the softened butter under the skin and gently massage the skin to spread the butter evenly over the whole breast…”

Paula Deen’s Deep-Fried Turkey

Southern cooking star Paula Deen offers yet another way to prepare turkey: deep frying. You can prepare the turkey the usual way, by thawing and brining it properly. Then into a stockpot of oil it goes. In Deep-Fried Turkey, Paula Deen gives these instructions: “Heat peanut oil in a turkey fryer or a very, very large stockpot to 350 degrees F. Lower turkey into hot oil, very carefully, making sure it is fully submerged. Fry turkey for 3 minutes per pound plus 5 minutes per bird. Remove turkey from oil and drain on paper towels…
“To measure the amount of oil needed to fry the bird, place turkey in fryer, add water to top of turkey, remove the turkey and the water line will indicate how much oil will be needed to fry your turkey. Having too much oil can cause a fire. The pot should not be more than 3/4 full or the oil could overflow when the turkey is added.”

Drinks to Go with your Turkey

This classic dish matches include Pinot Noir, Syrah, and red Bordeaux. However, the way you prepare your dish should be a factor when you decide what bottle to open for your celebration.

The marinade you baste the bird with, the seasoning you put in your side dishes, and the flavors you include in your spread need to be considered in choosing your drink. On top of that, Thanksgiving is a merry time, and this gives you liberty to drink whatever you enjoy most. If you like beer, then that’s what you should have. That – and a lot of fun!

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