It’s the annual nationwide freak-out. That damned turkey! So many questions, so much uncertainty! I hope this goes a little ways toward easing your mind if you are among the turkey afflicted. Of course, a detailed recipe and process shots are in my latest book, Ruhlman’s How to Roast. For the last couple of years I’ve recommended a roast-braise hybrid. This year a straightforward roast, from the book. Publishers Weekly published a full-on version (see below). Here I just want to go through the basics. You must have good turkey stock on hand, which is easy to do, but you can also buy low-sodium organic broth as well. Stuff the cavity full of onions and lemon and carrots and celery to keep hot air from circulating in the bird’s cavity and overcooking the breast. Read On »

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  Happy Thanksgiving all. I’m surrounded by Donna’s big lively festive brood of a family in the gorgeous Hudson Valley, and paying attention to all I have to be grateful for. I have so little to be ungrateful for–bunions, hemorrhoids, our inept Federal government–that alone is a blessing. But this is our shared national holiday, one centered on food as a symbol of bounty and good fortune, whatever we may have or not have. It is a time above all to remember the Gascon motto: Alone we die, together we thrive. It is also a time to remember that food is not simply our body’s fuel, an occasional luxury, or a daily errand, but rather the anchor of our lives without which we perish. It is what binds or families and our communities. It demands Read On »

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This is a repost from November 21, 2012 featuring Michael’s Cranberry Sauce and Gravy from scratch. My dad made this cranberry sauce when my daughter was very young. He was mystified, as I recall, having never cooked cranberries before, always used the kind with can-ribs, sliceable. That his granddaughter loved it made it very special to him. He continued to make it. His granddaughter is no longer four but rather seventeen and she will be making it this year (and so did I, because I wanted to share it in this post and think of my dad while it cooked). It’s really simple, can be done today or the day of (or several days ahead, next year). Just throw everything in the pot, bring it to a simmer, and set a timer for 90 minutes. Read On »

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  It’s Friday in NYC, a week before Thanksgiving, and I’m concluding last leg of what seems a forever road trip, concluding at Miami Book Fair tomorrow (I’m told I was on NPR Morning Edition today but haven’t heard and will be on The Chew on Tuesday cooking kreplach with my pal Michael Symon). Per our tradition we’ll be driving to the Hudson Valley to celebrate Thanksgiving with Donna’s big and growing family—something like 21 adults, a few teenagers, and a few great grand-kids. Donna volunteered me for the gravy because, gravy is a no-brainer, I love making stock, and frozen, it will travel well. (Recipes for stock and Friday Cocktail below.) A no-brainer if you make excellent turkey stock now! I’ll be doubling or tripling the below recipe this year. When I’m home I’ll be Read On »

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I stopped stuffing our Thanksgiving turkey reluctantly, as the stuffing was always my favorite part of the meal when Grandma Spamer made it. But my goal became a perfectly cooked bird, and you can’t cook a turkey perfectly if it’s stuffed. So now I make what we must refer to as dressing, no matter what Mario says (“That’s what you put on a salad.”). Dressing denotes that it’s stuffing cooked in a pan. And it can still be the very best part of the meal! Thanks to a versatile ratio, it’s a no brainer. Dressing, and there are infinite variations, is little more than a savory bread pudding. To make a great dressing you make the liquid a custard, the ratio for which is 2 parts liquid and 1 part egg, here 24 ounces stock Read On »

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