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Simple Thanksgiving Dinner Tips

Cooking CornerMany Americans want to treat family and friends to a holiday meal with a bit of tradi­tion to it.

Making that easier is a delicious recipe for roast turkey that harks back to Colonial times.

“Thanksgiving is about re­creating family traditions, about tak­ing time to be with loved ones and honoring generations-old values,” explains Emmy Award-winning TV host, cookbook author, and culinary historian Chef Walter Staib, City Tavern of Philadelphia proprietor.

“It’s the only truly American holiday centered around savoring our nation’s culinary heritage,” Staib stated.

This simple turkey recipe is based on what our forefathers ate at their celebrations. “It will taste just as delicious now as it did to our Founding Fathers.”

Early American Roasted Turkey

recipe by Chef Staib Serves 8 to 10

  • 1 (18-to 20-pound) turkey, with giblets, salt, and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion, quartered
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh sage, on stem
  • 1 bunch fresh tarragon, on stem
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 325° F. Place oven rack on the bottom level. Place wire roasting rack in a large roasting pan and spray with vegetable cooking spray.

Remove giblets, neck, and any visible fat from the cavity. Discard liver and fat. Rinse turkey inside and out with cold water; pat dry.

Sprinkle turkey cavity with salt and pepper. Place quartered onion inside.

In a small bowl, combine parsley, thyme, shallots, and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Sprinkle with salt and a generous grinding of pepper.

Rub herb mixture on meat under the skin on each side of the breast bone. Place fresh sage and tarragon under skin, leav­ing whole. Tie drumsticks to­gether with kitchen string and twist the wing tips behind the back. Place turkey, breast side up, in prepared roasting pan.

Roast for about 2 hours, until the breast is browned. Cover with foil and roast for 3 to 4 hours, basting the turkey every 15 minutes with its own juices. Roast until a meat ther­mometer inserted in a thigh muscle registers 180–185° F.

“Turkey is delicate by nature— the sharper the knife, the cleaner the cut and the nicer the presen­tation,” says Staib. “Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on the 18th­century grinding stone to create sharp knives. EdgeCraft makes holiday entertaining a little easier with Chef’sChoice® sharpeners.”

Chef’s Choice® Turkey-Carving Tips

Turkey-Carving Tips
Turkey-Carving Tips

Step 1
Be sure to use a good, sharp knife. Sharp knives are not only safer, but they will also help you smoothly cut thin, even slices without shred­ding the meat. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert to put a razor-sharp edge on your knife. Chef’sChoice® M130 professionally sharpens, steels and strops all brands and types of knives. Preci­sion guides eliminate guesswork for sharp, durable edges. For help finding a sharpener that’s right for you, call 800.342.3255 or visit www.chefschoice.com

Step 2
After the turkey is cooked (meat thermometer should read 180–185° F when inserted in the thickest part of the turkey), cool the bird for 15 minutes. Cooling makes the meat firmer and easier to slice.

Remove and set aside the turkey legs and the last joint of each wing.

Make a long, deep (to the bone) horizontal “base cut” into the breast just above the wing.

Step 3
Slice down vertically through the breast until you meet the orig­inal base cut. This will release perfect, even slices.

Following these preparation and carving tips can help make your Thanksgiving a meal to remember and one that our country’s founders would have enjoyed!


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