I resist. Each year, I try. but I fail. I tell myself to avoid the trap of making Thanksgiving a challenge, but I cannot help but dig deep and try to make Thanksgiving exciting and start cool projects. This year, I tried something new. I had made salmon mousseline not long ago and rolled them into dogs, but this time I wanted to make a terrine of smoothly textured turkey and I wanted create a mosaic view of colorful fall vegetables inlaid in the terrine. Continue reading »
Turkey was never something that I would seek out outside of the Thanksgiving holiday, but after getting a Gunthorp bird last year, I have been eating turkey on the regular – specifically leg and thigh – whenever I find local turkey. The difference between the conventional turkey and one raised correctly is remarkable. Deciding if you like turkey based on conventional turkey is like deciding whether you like beer based on Milwaukee’s Best. At its worst, turkey is dry and flavorless, but this is not that.
Stuffing a leg of turkey full of greens and other animal legs was one of those “Ideas While Running”. While my favorite blog, “Ideas in Food” is slicker and far smarter than a hypothetical “Ideas While Running” blog would be, the flow of ideas while deep into a run is fast and free and would be at least interesting insight into the thought process if not a scary look at loss of filter. The filter is completely gone, which could prove to be good or bad, but there are certainly doors being turned into windows when my heart rate elevates for a long period of time. Continue reading »
In the past. when looking at recipes that included smoked pork neck bones, I always asked myself if bacon could be substituted bacon for the neck bones. Smoked pork neck bones are not easy to find – they are a humble ingredient and most groceries do not get whole animals, so no neck bones. After a meal cooked over the past weekend, I now know that the answer is no, you can’t substitute them, and yes, you need to seek them out.
Bacon and pork neck bones are not even close. Both pork and both smoked, but then they diverge. The reason is texture and is hard to pinpoint at first. Then you wake up to pack the leftovers for work and a deli container of the okra soup falls from your hand and you find that the liquid has solidified from the rich gelatin in the neck bones. That texture softens when heated, but that added richness never goes away. Once you have the dish with it, the same dish without would never do. Continue reading »
Football fan or not, it is likely that if you turned a TV on during the Thanksgiving holiday in the last two decades, you have heard about Turducken. John Madden took a cult culinary dish and turned it in the American folklore. The turducken is a major league ballotine of a stuffed, boned chicken stuffed inside of a boned duck which, in turn, is stuck inside of a boned turkey. Calvin Trillin discusses the historical trevails of the turducken tracing mainstream turducken production to 1985 at Herbert’s Specialty Meats in Maurice, Louisiana from whom you can order a turducken to be shipped. As you can imagine, these beasts are far too big to have as part of a family meal with fewer than a dozen adults unless you are into days and days of leftovers. Continue reading »
Last year, you may remember that I did a month’s worth of Thanksgiving testing. This year, nothing. As many people do, I alternate Thanksgivings with my lovely spouse. Last year, we attended two local Thanksgiving meals where I had the free reign to make what I want, so I needed tons of testing. This year, we are headed to Oklahoma and I am limited as what my contribution will be, but I pretty much knew which direction that I wanted to go. Continue reading »
The Thanksgiving Challenge has its most visually appealing candidate so far. This terrine made from a turkey leg quarter, a roasted sweet potato, pancetta, and a heaping spoonful of trotter gear is not just a looker either. Despite serving it cold, it features the strongest flavor of turkey so far in the challenge.
Eventhough this terrine combines two of the most traditional Thanksgiving flavors, this terrine could be served anytime. By keeping the sage out of the terrine, the flavors of turkey is intense without tasting like a tube of Jimmy Dean sausage or a box of Stove Top Stuffing. Continue reading »
Turkey livers. That little parchment bag that you accidentally cooked inside your turkey five years ago contains one. I am guessing that your butcher would be happy to give you a few as a gift with your next meat purchase. It is this time of year where, I am guessing, that more turkey livers get trashed than in the rest of the year combined. Use these delicious gifts. Use them to make turkey liver mousse. Continue reading »
In the third part of the Thanksgiving Challenge, the topic, turkey thigh confit, is something worthy of entree status. Even still there will be no dry white meat, no patriarchal carving status and no giant turkey bags. Well, we still have turkey bags although they are much, much smaller — more specifically, unless you have a quart of duck fat, you only need two vacuum seal bags. Continue reading »
The second entry in a series of posts on different ideas for Thanksgiving dishes is turkey pastrami. You may see this in the cooler at your grocery store, but making it yourself (or buying it from someone who makes it with care, like City Provisions in Chicago) will produce a product totally elevated from your Jenni-O Turkey Pastrami. Continue reading »
From Belly to Bacon Note: The smoked turkey rillettes won the challenge, but in my second turn I altered the recipe and got a much smoother texture. I have revised the recipe below and added the photo evidence above.
It is coming up to the time of the year where in every food magazine, there will be at least two articles about what to with leftovers from Thanksgiving. Is that really the goal? To use up what we didn’t want the night before.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love Thanksgiving. My family has a lovely Thanksgiving with a huge group of sixty people gathering in one spot for sweet potatoes, dressing, and, if there is space, a little turkey. I would put my grandmother’s dressing up against anybody’s, but if you don’t have a go to dish, then why not try to make something new? Continue reading »