Five fabulous new ways to cook your Thanksgiving turkey
credit: William Berry/staff
All those fancy cooks at the New York Times are proposing exciting ways to cook your Thanksgiving turkey. Why shove your bird into the oven on a roasting pan, they ask, when you know that’s just a one-way ticket to the ho hums?
According to the New York Times, you should STEAM your turkey.
But if that’s too much work, then you should BRAISE the bird or — better yet — SPATCHCOCK the sucker.
We will not be outdone by those commonplace techniques here at the AJC. If you really want to impress guests far beyond any way they might be momentarily wowed by a New York Times turkey, may we propose one of these five exciting new preparation methods:
- Tie it to your exhaust manifold: Nothing could be simpler. Wrap the turkey in sage leaves and then chicken wire and then heavy-duty aluminum foil. Drive to Whole Foods (the one in Birmingham) to pick up your sides and desserts, and you will have one beautiful bird by the time you roll back into Atlanta.
- Go Japanese!: What could be more pristine and elegant (not to mention time saving) than turkey sashimi? Present the raw turkey to your guests, then cut translucently thin slices with a very sharp knife. You may want to have stuffing and seaweed on the table for do-it-yourself turkey sushi rolls. Fun and healthy.
- Wrap the turkey in clay: This is the method preferred by the pre-Columbian ancients for their Thanksgiving feasts. (And please don’t question my chronology: I was a history major and I know what I’m taking about.) Season the bird well and then cover it in a thick, sealed shell of clay. You roast it for three hours and then crack the shell at the table! The aroma alone will drive your guests insane. I have to admit I tested this technique with blue modeling clay I bought at Michael’s and it wasn’t totally terrific. But this recipe has potential, and I don’t hesitate to recommend it.
- Sear it over an oven burner: Why cook the turkey in your oven when space is at a premium? You’ve got so many pies and casseroles vying for space, right? So simply sear the turkey right on the burner. This technique works best with gas burners, but electric elements will do in a pinch. The searing locks in the juices in a way that people who steam their turkeys could only dream of. Added bonus: fabulously charred skin. Just one caveat: we do not recommend this technique for stuffed turkeys.
- Go molecular and spherify your turkey: It’s time for advanced cooking science to get an invitation to the Thanksgiving dinner table, and here’s how. Take any size turkey and mince it, bones an all. Cover this with water and simmer at the lowest heat level possible for three days. Honestly, my home oven doesn’t quite get low enough for this technique, so we all took turns warming the broth with the radiated heat from curling irons. It did eventually begin to reduce. When the liquid has reduced by 98.3%, add a pinch of xanthan gum powder and reverse spherify using the kit you mail ordered from Spain. Serve with mother of pearl handled spoons. When these babies pop in your mouth, it is the essence of Thanksgiving.
- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog