-- Thanksgiving is quickly approaching which means the time to start planning your holiday menu is now.
Turkey is the centerpiece of most Thanksgiving dinners but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. “Top Chef: All-Stars” winner Richard Blais appeared on “Good Morning America” today with his tips for cooking the perfect turkey.
Blais provided turkey recipes and revealed the most common mistakes that can quickly turn your Thanksgiving from a success into one your relatives will be talking about for years to come.
3 Thanksgiving Mistakes to Avoid
1. Doing Too Much Work on Thanksgiving Day: People need to pace themselves and do plenty of prep and even cooking days prior to T-Day. You want to be relaxed, prepared and capable of enjoying the day, so make the gravy ahead, chop and peel, and get yourself in a comfortable space the nights before.
2. Leaving the Turkey in Too Long: Pull the turkey out! We all get it, and I've been there. You check your charts and graphs and you brine and baste and you have that moment where you feel like the bird is done, but it's 30 minutes ahead of whatever celebrity chefs blog you read told you to do. Feel the farce (stuffing)! Go with your gut and remove the bird. It still cooks while it's resting on top of the stove.
3. Forgetting to Plan Leftovers: A nice soup, or a planned meal or two post-Thanksgiving dinner will help you clear out the fridge and not make you feel bad about NOT wanting to eat those Brussels sprouts in Tupperware a week later.
Richard's Turkey Tip
If you’re like my family, you might cook two birds on Thanksgiving day. We do one traditionally and roast it, you've all seen that before. But the other bird we tinker a bit with. We break the bird down like a chicken into breasts, legs and wings. This is also a great way to cook turkey if you have less space or a smaller oven!
We save the bones for stock and gravy, and this actually gives us a head start on making a great gravy because we can simmer these bones the night before or days before, honestly. The legs and wings get "confited," a fancy French term for cooking low and slow in their own juices ... OK, fat.
Confit Turkey Legs and Wings
1 cup kosher salt
A few thyme sprigs, chopped
A few rosemary sprigs, chopped
A few sage leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons white pepper
Handful of black pepper corns
A few bay leaves
Enough vegetable oil and/or duck or chicken fat to cover the legs and wings in a sided pot.
1. Sprinkle or bury your legs and wings with this mixture (vegetable oil and/or duck or chicken fat) over night or for a few hours.
2. Rinse the mixture off with cold water.
3. Place the legs and wings in a pot and cover with duck fat, chicken fat and/or vegetable oil.
4. Cover the pot with a lid or aluminum foil and bake in a 200-225 F degree oven for five to six hours.
5. After three hours you can check the pot and remove the wings.
6. Remove the ultra tender legs and wings and let dry. Finish for dinner service by broiling skin side up, or dredging in a little flour and frying.
Confit Turkey Breasts
2 tablespoons of kosher salt for 2 1/2 cups water (This is about a five percent salinity.)
A few tablespoons of black peppercorns
1 or 2 bay leaves
Sprinkle of chili flake
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Lemon skin, peeled
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1. Let the breasts swim in this brine for a few hours or over night.
2. Remove and rinse with cold water.
3. Pat dry and sear the breasts in a pan skin side down until golden.
4. Flip and pop in a low oven (250 degrees F) for 25 to 30 minutes until done.
5. Bring the breasts back to the stove and baste in a little melting butter and fresh herbs and garlic if desired.