As I was writing my annual Thanksgiving posts, adding a couple for Nourish Network, I was thinking it might be useful to round up a bunch of articles that contain recipes, tips, and tricks accumulated over years of Thanksgiving meals.
On Nourish Network:
- Turkey Time - including one version of cider pan gravy, terrific for grilled birds
- A Welcome Thanksgiving
- Demystifying Umami
Also on Nourish Network, see these wonderful posts about the Thanksgiving holiday:
- A Story of Heritage Turkeys - Lia Huber
- Miso and Herb-Rubbed Smoked Turkey - Lia Huber
- Wherever You Are, There's the Feast - Cheryl Sternman Rule (includes Lentil Soup with Roasted Pumpkin)
- Grandma Friese's Whole Cranberries - Kurt Michael Friese
- Chef Kurt's Mom's Wild Rice Dressing - Kurt Michael Friese
- Le Beaujolais Nouveau est Arrivee - Kurt Michael Friese
- Carving New Traditions - Lia Huber (a beautiful story of bringing their daughter home and imbuing Thanksgiving with new meaning)
Heritage Turkey and Heirloom Apples
My bird last year was a Narragansett, of which there are about 1,000 breeding females left. It was delicious and more wild tasting without being gamey. It was also really expensive.
This year we’ve ordered a turkey which is a Broad-breasted White, but from a local, family farm that uses only minimal antibiotics in the first few weeks of the turkeys’ lives. They produce very moist, very flavorful roasts and we strike a balance that’s right for us.
Remember when "apples" were only Red Delicious? Now we have an abundance of heirloom varieties. Apples complement turkey nicely. Often, I’ll include apples in the stuffing. This year why not try a Cider Pan Gravy? I like to fill the cavity with wedges of apple, orange, onion, celery, carrot, fennel. I rub a little herb butter under the breast skin as well as over the bird. Fennel pollen is a nice addition here.
Apple Cider Pan Sauce
This pan sauce is lighter than a traditional gravy. It will be deeply flavored from the herbs used in the basting broth and the herb butter. The first recipe gives a technique for making your own turkey stock. The pan sauce allows you to use homemade stock, store-bought broth, or both.
To make Cider Pan Sauce
To make this a thicker gravy you can use more fat and more flour. To make it a thinner pan sauce use less. Here’s a tip: practice the technique by roasting a chicken before Thanksgiving. The steps are the same and if you’re new at hosting Thanksgiving, having a “dry run” meal will help calm the nerves!
Have stock warmed up or make a quick substitution as follows:
- 2 tsp prepared demi-glace (Williams Sonoma makes a good one, but it does contain gluten) dissolved in 1 cup warm water or broth
- 2 cups of prepared stock (For homemade quick turkey stock see Turkey Time)
- 2 cups fresh apple cider (more or less to taste)
- 2-3 Tablespoons of reserved fat or butter
- 2-3 Tablespoons of Sauce and Gravy flour (finely milled flour that will not clump up on you, one brand is Wondra)
- 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- S&P to taste
- Vinegar to taste (pomegranate-red wine or apple, Katz makes a delicious artisanal heirloom apple vinegar)
- After the turkey has roasted, remove to a carving board, tent, rest.
- Pour pan juices into a gravy separator or measuring cup to spoon off extra fat, if any. Saving 3 Tablespoons.
- Return de-greased pan juices to roasting pan over two burners (careful, pan will be hot!)
- Pour in 1 cup of cider to deglaze pan over medium high heat, scraping up browned bits.
- Sprinkle sauce and gravy flour over pan and whisk (a flat silicone whisk works great here).
- Add equal parts stock or broth and more cider to taste.
A few pats of cold butter whisked in just before serving will emulsify this light pan sauce. It’s entirely optional.
Adjust for seasoning, some sea salt, grinds of white or black pepper. Add a tablespoon of pomegranate-red wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar to brighten the flavor.
Why not do a practice dinner of roast chicken with Cider Pan Sauce?
Kale, Lady Apples, Grapes, Bay Leaves make for a nice presentation
- Ten Point Plan for Thanksgiving
- Good Gravy
- Heritage Turkeys
- Thanksgiving Cheats, Tips, Tricks
- Orphans', Refugees', Procrastinators' Thanksgiving
- Turkey Trauma
- Easy Holiday Open House