“I’ve cooked probably 3,000 turkeys in my life, and every one has always been spot-on for this recipe,” says Cathal Armstrong, chef/owner of Restaurant Eve.
He learned the method from his father, and a version of the failproof recipe will appear in My Irish Table, Armstrong’s first cookbook, debuting in spring 2014.
While there are many ways to tackle a turkey, Armstrong swears by his: The bacon-wrapped bird first steams in the oven, ensuring moist meat, and is then roasted at a higher temperature to crisp the skin. Health departments don’t recommend stuffing the turkey, but as chef says, “if you decide to be risky like your grandmother,” make sure you take the weight of the stuffing (about a pound here) into account for the cooking time.
Thanksgiving Turkey and Stuffing
Serves 8 to 10
For the turkey:
1 (15-pound) turkey, such as those from Fields of Athenry Farm (available at Society Fair)
1 package pork bacon
1 roll aluminum foil
1 pint chicken stock
For the stuffing:
1 pint chicken broth
½ pound diced bacon
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 large Idaho potato, diced
4 cups sourdough bread, diced
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
For the pan gravy:
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 quarts chicken stock
Make the stuffing and turkey:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, thoroughly combine the ingredients for the stuffing. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Rinse the turkey cavity and pat it dry. Fill the turkey cavity with the stuffing. Tie the legs together tightly. Cover the neck cavity with foil to ensure the skin doesn’t burn and the stuffing stays moist.
Place the turkey on a baking rack set inside a baking sheet, or place turkey on a traditional turkey baking pan with a raised rack.
Cover the breast of the turkey with strips of bacon, followed by a layer of foil to cover this area only.
Pour 1 pint of chicken stock into the baking sheet or pan. Place in the oven.
Cook the turkey for 15 minutes per pound, plus 15 minutes to begin (about 4 hours total for a 15-pound turkey). One hour from finish cooking time, remove the foil from the stuffing section and the breast section, along with the bacon. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. If you want to test the doneness of the bird with a meat thermometer, the target temperature is 165 degrees.
Make the pan gravy:
Once the bird has been removed from the oven, add a small amount of chicken broth to the pan drippings. With a whisk, get the drippings and the liquid moving around.
In a separate bowl make a roux, mixing the flour and butter together.
Set a saucepan over medium heat and add the roux, followed by the chicken stock and pan drippings. Gradually add more chicken stock, stirring, to adjust for consistency (it should be the texture of a light soup). Bring the mixture to a boil until it thickens to a brown gravy. Once it has a thick consistency, remove from the heat and pass it through a fine strainer.
The first night of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving only coincide once every 70,000-odd years, so it’s definitely an occasion worth noting. We asked DGS Delicatessen chef Barry Koslow to concoct a Thanksgivukkah recipe, bringing together flavors from both traditions. The result: sweet potato latkes topped with a savory cranberry condiment, a perfect appetizer or side for your holiday table.
Latkes are simple, recipe-wise, but the trick is keeping them crisp. Make sure you squeeze as much moisture from the potatoes and onions as possible, and pan-fry them in clarified butter, canola oil, or even duck fat for a crackly crust. The DGS team recommends underseasoning the mixture to start, frying up a small test bite, and adjusting to taste. The cranberry mostarda to finish the dish is an easy, chutney-like accent that can be made a week in advance. Latkes aside, you may have just found your new cranberry sauce.
Sweet Potato Latkes With Cranberry Mostarda
Serves 4 as a side dish
For the cranberry mostarda:
½ cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
½ cup diced apple
½ cup dried apricots
¼ cup mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon mustard powder
½ cup water
Pinch of salt
1 cup fresh cranberries
Combine all ingredients except for the cranberries in a small sauce pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the mustard seeds start to plump up.
Pull the pot off the heat and add the cranberries, gently stirring. Be careful not to pop them.
Pour the mixture into a bowl or jar and chill thoroughly before serving. The mostarda can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.
For the latkes:
1 Idaho potato
1 medium sweet potato
½ medium white onion
2 egg yolks
2 small sage leaves, minced
½ cup clarified butter, canola oil, or duck fat (if you’re going decadent)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Using the largest holes of a box grater, grate the sweet potato, Idaho potato, and onion into a mixing bowl.
Squeeze as much water from the mixture as possible and place mixture in a separate bowl. Discard the water.
Add the egg yolks, sage, salt, and pepper to the bowl. Mix all the ingredients until incorporated.
Place a nonstick pan on medium heat and add the clarified butter, oil, or fat.
Form the potato mixture into baseball-size spheres, and gently place in the butter. Flatten them with a spatula into a pancake shape, so they’re about 1⁄8 inch thick.
Brown the latkes for approximately 5 minutes per side. Remove from pan and put on a paper towel to sop up any extra grease.
Finish the latkes for 10 minutes in the oven on a cookie sheet.
Looking for an easy way to spruce up classic pumpkin pie? This recipe from BlackSalt pastry chef Susan Wallace is both impressive and simple—you don’t even need to make a crust from scratch. Simply fill a store-bought shell with spiced pumpkin purée, and top with buttery oatmeal streusel for crunch. (Bonus: It looks pretty, too.)
Pumpkin Streusel Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie (serves 6 to 8)
For the oatmeal streusel:
⅔ cup all-purpose flour
⅔ cup quick oats
⅓ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut into ½-inch cubes and chilled
For the pie and filling:
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell (Wallace recommends Pillsbury Pet-Ritz deep-dish)
2 eggs, separated
15 ounces canned pumpkin purée (Wallace likes Libby’s brand)
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk, preferably Eagle Brand
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
Prepare the streusel:
In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
Work in butter by hand, until butter pieces are pea-size. The mixture should be crumbly. Chill 15 minutes.
Pre-bake the pie shell:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of pie shell and fill with pie weights, beans, or rice to weigh down shell. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pie weights, beans, or rice.
Finish the pie:
In medium mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.
In separate bowl on mixer, whip egg whites until stiff. By hand, whisk the whites into pumpkin mixture. Pour the filling into pre-baked pie shell. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until almost set on top (the pie will be dry but shiny about 1 inch around the center).
Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Sprinkle streusel on top, covering pie. Return to the oven and continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes, until topping is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and cool 30 minutes. Chill at least 3 hours or overnight. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.
In case you haven’t heard, pomegranate seeds are good for you. Funny enough, so is sharing delicious drinks with friends. In the spirit of both: my go-to holiday cocktail from Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day. It looks festive (and kinda fancy), goes down smooth, and is potent enough to satisfy your booze tooth without tasting overtly alcoholic (so yes, drinker beware). The recipe is very similar to a classic French 75, with the gin-soaked pomegranate seeds as an extra treat.
Another perk of this recipe: It’s budget-adaptable. If you’re splurging for cocktails a deux, Hendrick’s gin and true Champagne are hard to beat. When I’ve whipped up a batch for a holiday party, moderately priced Citadelle and Prosecco make tasty substitutes. The key is to use a lightly flavored or floral gin versus a herbaceous one. Regardless of your alcohols, slightly sweet Meyer lemon juice is the ideal seasonal citrus.
The only thing daunting about this formula may be seeding the pomegranate. Fortunately, we have an instructive video for that.
Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail
2 ounces lightly flavored gin, such as Hendrick’s or Citadelle
½ ounce simple syrup*
½ ounce lemon juice, preferably Meyer lemon in season
About 6 ounces Prosecco or Champagne
1 tablespoon fresh pomegranate seeds
Optional: a lemon twist for garnish
Pour the first three ingredients into an ice-filled shaker and strain into a Champagne flute or coupe.
Add the pomegranate seeds, and top off with the bubbly. Add the lemon twist, if using.
* Don’t let specialty stores lure you into buying $12 bottles of plain “bar syrup.” It’s called simple syrup for a reason: put equal parts sugar and water in a small pot (say ½ cup of each), and let it sit over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Chill it before mixing your cocktail, and keep it stored in the fridge.
Remember Jell-O shots in college: the ingenious combination of Jell-O packets and vodka that leave your mouth red and your mind blank? Well, now there’s an adult way to enjoy those boozy wiggle-bombs. Jack Rose barkeeps Nick Lowe and Trevor Frye took our challenge to gussy up the ol’ sorority favorite for all of your Halloween party fun, no Kraft Foods product needed. The best part: You must make both recipes in advance to let the gelatin set the cocktail, so they’re hassle-free come party time. Unless, of course, that guy in the Miley Cyrus costume takes one too many.
As a food writer, I get the chance to sample a lot of salads. It’s always good to have vinegar-dressed greens on the table when you’re tasting a lot of different—and often heavy—dishes. At a recent meal at J&G Steakhouse, a friend suggested we share this butternut squash starter as a healthy way to begin a meal of many meats. To our surprise, it was our favorite item that evening—with bright acidity from two vinaigrettes bringing out the sweet earthiness of the squash, measured dollops of goat cheese adding a touch of richness, pumpkin seeds lending crunch, and frisée and watercress offsetting the heft of the orange vegetable.
The best news: As the recipe below reveals, the uniquely delicious flavors come from ingenious ingredient combinations rather than time-consuming or challenging techniques.
Watch as it steals the show at your next fall dinner party.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Salad, Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette
For the squash:
1 small butternut squash
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 small dried red chili, ground
1½ teaspoons coriander seed, crushed
If you’ve been to the farmers market lately, you know peach season has hit full stride. Take advantage of the sweet, ripe fruits with a hand pie recipe from NoPa Kitchen + Bar pastry chef Jemil Gadea.
Don’t be intimidated by the recipe’s multiple steps—they yield various rewards. Macerating the peaches makes an abundance of filling, which you can use to top ice cream, mix into smoothies, or even incorporate into a savory dish (peaches and spice-rubbed pork loin comes to mind). The liquid that’s drained from the fruit mixture before you make the pies is also a tasty side product; treat it like peach simple syrup to use in iced tea or cocktails, or reduce it with some fresh raspberries for sauce. Gadea is partial to the stone fruits from Black Rock Orchard, which sets up stalls at local farmers markets like the Penn Quarter FreshFarm Market on Thursday and Dupont on Sunday.
Gadea’s number-one tip for recreating NoPa’s dessert: Don’t overstuff the pies. Filling them beyond capacity will make them leak in the fryer and disintegrate. Serve them with vanilla ice cream for a classic summer treat.
Even in the summer heat, there’s nothing like a splash of hot sauce to perk up eggs or barbecue. Instead of reaching for the Tabasco, try this simple recipe from Evening Star Cafe chef Jim Jeffords.
The Georgia-bred toque grows his own peppers on the restaurant’s rooftop garden, including fresnos, datils—which are native to his home state—and cayennes. But no need to grow your own: The formula Jeffords uses is a base, and can accommodate a variety of common fresh peppers, such as milder red fresnos, earthy serranos, and fiery Scotch bonnets. Depending on your heat tolerance, he recommends a 3-2-1-part ratio for the chilies listed above. Mixed with garlic and white vinegar, this is destined to become a go-to condiment that matches the season’s temperatures.
Jim’s Special Throne Sauce
Makes one bottle
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1½ cups white vinegar, such as Heinz
About 1½ cups mixed fresh peppers, such as red fresno, serrano, and Scotch bonnet, all available at Whole Foods and seasonally at the farmers market (see above for ratios)
1½ tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
Using gloves, rinse all the peppers thoroughly. Remove the stems and chop into about ¾-inch pieces.
Heat a sauté or cast-iron pan over high heat. Coat it with olive oil. When you see “white smoke” and the pan is very hot, add the peppers. Season them with salt. Let cook for 4 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Once they are slightly charred, cover the peppers with white vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately turn off the heat. Remove from the stove and let cool.
Once cool, place the peppers and vinegar mixture in an airtight container such as a Mason jar or plastic container. Make sure the peppers are covered with vinegar; it may be necessary to add more. Store the peppers at room temperature for one week.
Once the mixture has aged, purée in a blender until smooth. Pass the hot sauce through a sieve or fine strainer.
Store liquid hot sauce in refrigerator for up to two months.
Bourbon Steak’s lounge feels like more of a go-to Manhattan spot than the place to quaff piña coladas, but wait until you try barkeep Duane Sylvestre’s version. The Trinidadian knows his island drinks, and knows they are often stereotyped as overly fruity, saccharine, and awash in artificial ingredients. Sylvestre’s take on the Puerto Rican cocktail is free of all of the above, and crafted with quality rum, fresh lemon juice, and house-made coconut crème.
The key is the crème—a simple syrup made with puréed coconut—which stands in for commercial coconut creams such as the ubiquitous Coco López. If you’re mixing up the cocktail for National Piña Colada Day (which is today), you may opt for the first method, which is slightly more involved and uses a whole coconut. You can also order high-quality frozen coconut purée on Amazon.com for future shortcuts. The recipe serves one, but you may as well whip up enough for a party while you’re at it—just keep the ratios intact. Sylvestre makes one large batch a day and pours each serving over crushed ice.
A word of warning from Sylvestre: “It’s a lot of booze that goes down easily, so be careful. This is not what they served you on your beach vacation.”
“Making an agua fresca can be a really simple affair, especially when you have high-quality fruit,” says Ann Cashion, co-owner of Taqueria Nacional. (She also co-owns and cooks at Capitol Hill seafood favorite Johnny’s Half Shell). So when mixing up drinks for your Fourth of July barbecue, skip the dyed red, white, and blue drinks and go with something naturally festive and fully refreshing: strawberry agua fresca, like the one you’ll find at the newly opened 14th Street taco spot.
At the restaurant, Cashion uses locally grown strawberries for the drink. Since strawberry season is nearing its end, she suggests adding fresh blueberries or raspberries or subbing out the strawberries altogether. If you opt for commercially grown strawberries, Cashion suggests adding more sugar for sweetness, though don’t overdo it—aim for one cup at most.
Another perk of this recipe: You can whip up a pitcher in advance for your party—just keep it chilled—and serve it with booze on the side for a mixed-age crowd. Just add one and a half ounces of your favorite light rum or tequila to your glass and stir for a more potent drink.
Strawberry Agua Fresca
Makes one pitcher
6 pints of ripe strawberries (preferably locally grown), washed, and stems removed
¼ cup sugar, or more to taste
1 cup filtered water, or more to achieve desired consistency
Optional: A bottle of your favorite light rum or tequila
In a blender, purée the strawberries with some sugar and 1 cup of water. Check for sweetness and add more sugar if desired.
Transfer the purée into a larger container and stir in more water until you achieve the consistency and concentration that you want.
Strain the mixture into a pitcher to remove some of the seeds and chill until ready to serve.