Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Let's Talk Turkey

Thanksgiving is just right around the corner. And this holiday can hardly happen without Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Minnesota tops the nation in turkey production (45 million) followed by North Carolina (35 million) Arkansas (29 million) Indiana and Missouri (17 million), and Virginia (16 million).
Meanwhile Wisconsin is a national leader in growing cranberries. It will produce 538 million pounds, followed by Massachusetts at 210 million pounds.
Rich Turkey Gravy
Cooking Tip: While the turkey roasts, it releases lots of concentrated flavor into the pan. This is where the gravy takes on another dimension. So as the bird rests, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Adding cold stock to warm roux means lumpy gravy. So make sure the stock and turkey drippings are heated before you add them to roasting pan to make the gravy. For a really smooth  gravy (with no lumps), add finished gravy to blender, mix and then add gravy back into saucepan.  Keep gravy on low heat covered until serving.
  • 3-3-1/2 cups poultry stock from roasting pan
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 dry white wine, brown ale or apple cider
  • 1-2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • Fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley and 1 tsp. dried herbes de provence. 
  • Carefully lift the turkey roasting pan and strain juices into a large measuring cup over the sink.  Skim fat from the surface.  
  • Remove turkey from the roasting pan. There will be juices in the roasting pan. Place roasting pan over two burners set to medium high heat. 
  • Add 1/2 cup white wine or 1/2 cup apple cider to roasting pan. Scrape any brown bits and cook wine or apple cider until almost evaporated 2 minutes.
  • Reduce heat and whisk in 1/2 cup flour. Cook, whisking until roux is deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. 
  • Whisking gradually ladle stock mixture into roux until thickened. Add in 1-2 tsp. apple cider vinegar. Mix well. Stir in herbs and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Keep warm until ready to serve.
One last word on stuffing 
  • Start with stale bread. Drying it out overnight is the key to flavor absorption and a sog free stuffing.
  • You don't have to add meat to the stuffing, but it does deliver a nice savory note. Consider using chorizo (pork sausage) or Italian sausage.
  • Use this flavor building trio; sage,celery and onion
  • You'll need lots of liquid, so stock is a must. 
  • Add a little flair to your stuffing. If making cornbread stuffing add in tart dried cherries or cranberries. Salted pepitas give stuffing a nice crunch or toasted pecans.
Bon Appetit  
The World According to Bella
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Love, Bella

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