Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Week of Cooking Dangerously -- Part 2 -- Thanksgiving in January

I have often said that I should make a Thanksgiving dinner at some other point in the year to try things that I wouldn't dare to try at the real Thanksgiving for fear of a failure at the all-important feast.

So when Joan invited a group of friends and family to dinner on Thursday, I determined that this was the moment. And, in contrast to the meal I prepared a few days before, everything went right, and I actually discovered a new turkey presentation that I will use next November: roast turkey breast, porchetta style. This roasted breast, which was seasoned and rolled a day ahead, proved to be incredibly juicy with the exact taste of Italian porchetta, as a result of the massive amount of sage and rosemary rub inserted in the center and under the skin.

Roasted turkey breast, porchetta-style
Before the meal, hors d'oeuvres consisted of the same sturgeon I had served on Sunday, my proprietary ricotta and sun-dried tomato spread and cheese gougères.

Ricotta and sun-dried tomato spread
The meal began with ginger beet soup with tarragon, a vibrantly gorgeous and foolproof recipe from Gordon Hamersley's Bistro Cooking at Home.

Ginger beet soup with tarragon
The turkey, described above, was accompanied by a sage and chicken sausage stuffing and classic gravy, both from Kenji Lopez-Alt's wonderful new book, The Food Lab (see my post of October 10, 2015 for more on this book). The secret to the gravy was a deep dark brown turkey stock that I had made earlier in the week by roasting the hell out of turkey necks, onions, carrot and celery before making  them into stock.

Sage and chicken sausage stuffing
Roasting turkey necks and aromatic vegetables for stock
I will repeat both the stock and the gravy at Thanksgiving.

Finally, a Tarte Tatin, made according to the recipe of the Confrérie des Lichonneux de Tarte Tatin, which came out perfectly. I will be doing a separate post on this tart, so enough said for now.

My advice, therefore, is to invite some friends to non-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving and experiment.

Bobby Jay

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