Brining, whether wet or dry, was a topic of conversation on various feeds I follow online. I used a dry brine that I picked up on sale at Williams-Sonoma after a Thanksgiving holiday. As I picked up my turkey on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I applied the brine early Wednesday morning. In the evening, I rinsed the bird and let it air dry in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, I applied the herb butter both under the breast skin and then on the outside of the turkey. I cooked my turkey in a shallow roasting pan, on a rack with a cup or so of water in the bottom of the pan. I roasted the turkey per the recipe and didn’t baste the bird at all. In an Instagram post by America’s Test Kitchen, they said, “Basting does nothing to create moist meat-it only slows down cooking and turns the skin chewy and leathery.” Following their advice, I did the same. Wow, the turkey came out perfect. The skin was golden brown, the meat moist and tender and tasted delicious. From now on, my holiday turkey will be done this way.
While in the midst of holiday cooking, the last thing one wants to do is worry about what to prepare for the family supper. Luckily I found a tasty sheet pan supper by Ali Slagle in The New York Times/NYT Cooking app for Rosemary-Garlic Roasted Chicken and Gnocchi. For the recipe you’ll need bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, kosher salt (Diamond Crystal), black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh rosemary, shelf-stable potato gnocchi and a lemon. I like the shelf-stable potato gnocchi that I purchase at Wegmans. I suggest that you check your local food store.
I prepared the recipe ahead as I was working into the evening and I could have my husband pop into the sheet pan into the oven. Using bone-in chicken breasts, our preference, I patted the chicken dry and seasoned with salt and pepper. The chicken and gnocchi is coated with a mixture of extra-virgin olive oil, finely chopped garlic and chopped rosemary. The chicken is placed on top of the gnocchi, which releases its juices helping to crisp up and flavor the gnocchi. The meal is roasted for 35 to 40 minutes at 450°. Before serving, remove the chicken and top with lemon zest. For the gnocchi, which is still in the pan, drizzle with juice of half a lemon and toss the gnocchi scrapping up the brown bits and coating with the pan juices.
Yum, what an easy, delicious and flavorful preparation! The gnocchi made for a nice complement to the chicken. Make this part of your family’s meal rotation, they’ll love it.
On a final note, now that Thanksgiving is over, you may be staring at the turkey carcass in the refrigerator with turkey left on it. I decided to turn my turkey into Roasted Turkey Stock with a recipe I found on The New York Times/NYT Cooking webpage. The original recipe is by Suzanne Goin, a Los Angeles based chef, and adapted by Julia Moskin of The Times.
For the recipe you’ll not only need the carcass, but onions, carrots, celery, white wine (yes, white wine, but not for drinking), garlic cloves, fresh thyme, black peppercorns, whole arbol chile (or small dried red chile) and kosher salt. As I made a turkey breast, I supplemented the carcass with two turkey legs, with thigh attached, that I purchased at Palmer’s Quality Meats.
First I roasted the two legs/thighs for the soup. While they were cooking, I broke the turkey carcass in pieces and roasted until brown. While this was going on, I prepped my vegetables, wine and herbs for the pot.
Once the meat was roasted, they were placed in the stock pot, while I added the chopped vegetables to the roasting pan so they could cook in the turkey drippings for 20-25 minutes. When done, I added the wine to the pan, scrapped up the fond on the bottom and reduced to a syrup. Finally, the vegetable and the liquid gets added to the stock pot with the turkey parts and simmers for three hours.
What a rich and gelatinous stock. It tastes wonderful, and because I added turkey legs/thighs, I have plenty of dark meat in which to create turkey and dumplings for supper tomorrow evening. I have another container of stock that will make Turkey Barley Soup, a from Melissa Clark.
Roast Turkey with Maple Herb Butter and Gravy
Bon Appétit Magazine
2 cups apple cider
1⁄3 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 1⁄2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3⁄4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
14 lbs. turkey, neck and giblets reserved
2 cups onions, chopped
1-1/2 cups celery, with leaves chopped
1 cup carrot, coarsely chopped
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
3 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 small bay leaf
2 tablespoons apple brandy (optional)
Boil apple cider and maple syrup in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat until reduces to 1/2 cup, about 20 minutes*. Remove from heat. Mix in half of chopped thyme, half of marjoram and 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon peel. Add butter and whisk until melted. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated)
Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 375°F. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Place turkey on rack set in large roasting pan. Slide hand under skin of turkey breast to loosen skin. Rub 1/2 cup maple butter over breast under skin. If stuffing turkey, spoon stuffing into main cavity. Rub 1/4 cup maple butter over outside of turkey. Reserve remaining maple butter for gravy. Tie legs together loosely to hold shape of turkey. Arrange onion, celery, carrot and reserved turkey neck and giblets around turkey in pan. Sprinkle vegetables with remaining 1 tablespoon thyme and remaining 1 tablespoon marjoram. Pour 2 cups broth into pan.
Roast turkey 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F Cover entire turkey loosely with heavy-duty foil and roast until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 180°F or until juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced with skewer, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 2 hours 25 minutes for unstuffed turkey (2 hours 55 minutes for stuffed turkey). Transfer turkey to platter. Tent turkey with aluminum foil and let stand 30 minutes; reserve mixture in pan for gravy.
Strain pan juices into large measuring cup, pressing on solids with back of spoon. Spoon fat from pan juices. Add enough chicken broth to pan juices to measure 3 cups. Transfer liquid to heavy medium saucepan and bring to boil. Mix 3 tablespoons reserved maple butter and flour in small bowl to form smooth paste. Whisk paste into broth mixture. Add chopped fresh thyme and bay leaf. Boil until reduces to sauce consistency, whisking occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix in apple brandy, if desired. Season gravy to taste with salt and pepper.
Brush turkey with any remaining maple butter and serve with gravy.
*Donna’s Note: For my turkey I purchased Delicious Orchards Apple Cider and it took approximately one hour to reduce.
Rosemary-Garlic Roasted Chicken and Gnocchi
By Ali Slagle
The New York Times/NYT Cooking
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
Time: 45 Minutes
2½ to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (6 to 8 pieces)
Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary (from 2 sprigs)
2 (12- to 18-ounce) packages shelf-stable potato gnocchi
Roasted Turkey Stock
Recipe by Suzanne Goin
Adapted by Julia Moskin
The New York Times/NYT Cooking and
“Making Turkey Stock with Suzanne Goin,”
The New York Times/Recipe Lab
Time: about 1 hour, plus 3 to 4 hours simmering
Yield: 3 quarts
1 leftover carcass from a 10- to 15-pound roasted turkey, preferably including neck, wing and leg bones
4 or 5 onions, quartered (no need to peel; just rub off any papery skins)
2 large or 3 small carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
4 large or 5 small celery ribs, cut into chunks
2 cups white wine
2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 whole arbol (or another small dried red) chile
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.