Chef Stefan prepares us for the holiday season with Thanksgiving tips and ideas!
For a Flavorful Turkey
Homemade stock reduction with butter for basting. If you are a baster, then how about arming yourself with an intense flavor packed basting liquid?
Try: In a saucepan, combine 4 cups of vegetable stock, 8 Tbs. of butter and a complimenting Spice Blend, such as Herb Turkey Rub, English Roast Rub, or Lamb & Pork Seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until your basting liquid has reduced by at least half. This will intensify the flavors. As you baste, the liquid will combine with your bird’s drippings and add additional flavor.
Try: Pre-rub turkey in a combination of Herb Turkey Rub & mayonnaise. Use 1 oz Herb Turkey Rub per cup of mayo. Be sure to rub entire bird, inside and under the skin.
Try: Espresso Steak Rub applied to the turkey’s cavity in addition to any seasoning placed outside the bird will add a unique sweet, nutty richness. The drippings will impart new dimension to gravy.
For Crispy Skin
To impart a crispy skin, the skin has to start out dry and stay dry.
Tip: Air dry turkey in fridge 1 day to dry skin and promote more crisp skin.
Tip: Applying seasonings into the bird and under the skin as opposed to on top of the skin, will help to promote skin’s crispiness.
For Smooth Cooking & Preparation
Tip: Roast turkey in pieces not whole, this will speed up cooking time and allow you to remove fully cooked pieces (white meat), while undercooked (dark meat) pieces can continue to cook thru. Roasting in pieces will also let you use different spice blends, so the entire bird won’t have to be just one flavor.
Tip: A few room temp sides offer ease of cooking for the mains and preparing side dishes the day before will really allow a smooth transition at serving time.
Give international flare with foods from other cultures.
Try a side of: Sautéed Zahtar spiced parsnips and dates with lemon mint cream.
Make a side of: Yellow Curry roasted butternut squash with chickpeas.
Try a side of: Chinese 5-Spice swiss chard with toasted slivered almonds.
For a Unique Side
A unique way to present a side with a natural vibe.
Try: Pre-roasting hollowed apples sprinkled with Baker’s Spice Blend to create a tasty edible bowl. Serve cranberry sauce in hollowed out apples. Adding a quick grind of Pirate’s Bite Spice Blend will bring an often boring cranberry sauce to life.
by Chef Stefan
About the Chef: Chef Stefan is the Corporate Chef for The Spice & Tea Exchange®. Currently, co-owner of the San Francisco and Portland locations, Stefan is also a passionate food lover, trained chef, and culinarian. Stefan advanced both his culinary skills and knowledge of global flavors through his passion for traveling (60+ countries around the world). His formal education spans from San Francisco’s Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy to San Francisco Baking Institute and S.F. Cooking School.