Pan Gravy Basics
The real gravy of a roasting a holiday bird is, well just that… the gravy, and nothing says turkey gravy like delicious, old-fashioned pan gravy. Pan gravy derives its flavor and telling character from both a rich stock, and the wonderful juices and dripping fats created by the cooking bird, and collected in the roasting pan, aka the pan drippings.
The Mother Sauce
Although deceivingly simple, pan gravies or sauces are rather sophisticated cuisine. In fact, in French cooking they are highly regarded as a mother sauce. You will know a good one when you taste it because it is pure ambrosia, smooth and delicious enough to eat all by itself. So much so, that it may actually surprise you to find how easy they are to make.
You start by making two different types of fonds – or bases. The first fond is your stock, which will be the hearty liquid foundation for your gravy. The second is a deglazing sauce made of the pan drippings, used to enrich the flavor of the Read more
Bread Stuffing Basics
Bread stuffing aka dressing, cooked inside the bird can delicately impart flavor and moisture to the meat, while in turn the delicious natural juices from the meat enrich the flavor and moisture of the stuffing. When cooked outside the bird, it can be equally moist and delicious, safely cooked ahead of time, and overall, much easier to control with regard to final moisture and texture. When cooked sans stuffing, the bird will cook faster too. Bottom line, no matter what you call it or where you cook it, stuffing is a signature holiday dish.
The nature and quality of the bread, as well as how it is prepared, will account for a dressings primary texture. A ‘dry’ dressing will retain a pleasant coarse or even crisp texture. Dressings that call for fresh bread or breadcrumbs, especially when moistened with stock, are softer and more even-textured. What’s nice is there isn’t a hard and fast rule as to what should go into Read more
How to Make Turkey Stock
The precious juices created and saved from the cooking of vegetables and meats, have long been used by cooks to enrich and enhance the flavor of food. In French cooking, these are fonds de cuisine - the foundations of cooking, and this practice of creating and using these juices is elevated to an art form of different fonds as stocks, reductions and sauces.
When making a poultry stock, these prized juices are created by cooking the bones of the bird together with a mirepoix - a specific combination of chopped aromatic vegetables, in a large stockpot of water. The initial cooking draws or extracts the flavor and juices from the ingredients, and additional hours of cooking slowly distills those juices and flavors into a rich stock. This all-important stock is what will give your gravy its telling character.
It is true that you can simply boil the neck and gizzard in lightly salted water and use the resulting liquid to make your gravy. However, it is only a little more work, and not that much more elaborate to make a good basic brown turkey stock. If you plan to butterfly or debone your turkey, you will have a wealth of good bones to add to the pot. If not, you can also make use of any fresh or frozen chicken bones and trimmings you may have saved for making chicken stock, as they will reflect the flavor of the turkey.
Rich Brown Stock
A basic brown turkey stock is made by first roasting or browning the bones before adding them to the stockpot, and mixing with a mirepoix, in a combination of 2 parts onion and carrots to 1 part celery, as an aromatic flavor base. When making a white stock, you start the stock with raw bones and a white mirepoix, replacing the carrots with parsnips to achieve a more pale color, and often adding leeks and mushrooms.
This simple brown stock is a wonderful, hearty base for delicious brown gravy. If you are starting Read more
In our holiday video, D’Artagnan Talks Turkey: Part 1—Just the facts, you’ll learn all about our entire turkey lineup. In this short video, Ariane will run through each bird – from how it’s raised to how many people it will feed and all the details in between. Still can’t decide which turkey to buy? Check out A Few Words About our Birds for even more information and side by side comparison.
It’s Day 4 of our Turkey Day guide! And the home-stretch of Turkey Roasting 101. S0 – the bird is now perfectly roasted and ready to come out of the oven. You have already cleared a safe place for it, with surfaces protected if necessary from the intense heat of the roasting pan. Your cutting board with juice trough, sheet pan or warmed platter are situated close by………. uh… now what?!
Turkey Roasting Basics, Part 4
Give the Bird a Breather… Finally, it is time for a good rest. Unfortunately, that rest is for the bird, not for you. After the turkey is through cooking, remove it from the oven, and transfer it to the waiting board, pan or warmed platter. Then place it in a warm place (out of the way of any drafts) to allow it to ‘rest’ with the dressing still inside. Do not just place it on a flat cutting board. If that is Read more
Welcome to Day 3 of our Thanksgiving Survival Guide! By now, you’ve learned some turkey roasting basics, so you chose a technique to initially protect the turkey from the dry heat; it is in the oven roasting beautifully, and you are basting away diligently – this is great! Now comes the second step towards a moist, juicy bird – don’t overcook it!
Turkey Roasting Basics, Part 3
First, use each basting as an opportunity to keep an eye on the browning. If the skin becomes too brown – too soon before the bird has cooked through, you can prevent over browning or burning, simply by shielding the skin. You do this with a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side up, that you crease from side-to-side across the center to form a tent shape. Place this tent very loosely over the top of the turkey. Be sure to leave at least 2 to 3 inches open between the bottom of the foil and the top of the roasting pan, to avoid trapping moisture or steam under the tent (remember, dry heat). If at this point the bird is already as brown as you would like, use the foil shield through the remainder of the cooking, and continue to baste as usual.
Otherwise, take the foil off at the beginning of the last hour of your cooking range to allow the bird to continue browning and the skin to ‘crisp’ again. If after that, the skin has browned to your liking, and the bird has still not finished cooking; just put a tent back over the turkey and leave it until the bird does finish cooking. In either case, it is very important to continue basting as usual.
Are we there yet?
Even when equipped with a guideline and good intuitive timing, a quick read or instant read meat thermometer is an indispensable little tool for determining when your bird has finished roasting. These are not the same meat thermometers that protrude out of the breast throughout roasting. Quick read thermometers have a slender sensor that you push into the meat to take the temperature
In the first installment of our Thanksgiving Survival Guide, we told you why turkeys should have fat added to the mix during roasting and gave specific oven temperatures for best results. For Day 2, we’re taking these lessons one step further, to ensure crispy skin and moist meat, with buttering, cloaking and barding.
Turkey Roasting Basics, Part 2
Here are three more ways to protect a turkey from the dry, oven heat, which will send you well on your way to roasting the perfect holiday bird.
Buttering beneath the skin is the second technique, and this one actually helps the bird to self-baste. This treatment is a particularly delicious choice for our free-range organic turkeys. For birds up to 16 pounds start with a well-chilled 1- pound roll of our black truffle butter, you may want two rolls if your bird is any bigger. Slice each roll evenly creating approximately 1/4-inch thick discs. Use your fingers to slip between the skin and meat at the neck opening, gently working up to using your entire hand to ease your way carefully along the breast and leg meat, taking care not to puncture the skin. Then place these black truffle butter discs in an even layer over the entire surface created between the skin and the bird; pat the skin back into place, and season generously with a Read more
Can you believe there are only 16 days left until Thanksgiving?! While warm, fuzzy visions of time off, family gatherings, food and football fill the minds of many, if you’re the designated chef on Thanksgiving, the tick-tock may have you feeling more distress than delight. Even seasoned cooks can feel a tad overwhelmed this time of year, and if you’re new to cooking or if this is just your first time hosting Turkey Day the pressure may frazzle your nerves like they’ve never been frazzled before. But before you have a total-food-freak-out, just remember – we’re here to help!
This year, we’ve launched a brand, spanking new section of our website that’s chock-full of helpful articles, videos and chef recipes. And for Thanksgiving in particular, we’ve compiled a great deal of tried and true information, from how to choose your holiday bird to how to carve it and everything in between. So starting now we’re going to post a new article, video or recipe on this blog everyday until Thanksgiving.
We’ll start with the basics… Turkey Roasting Basics, Part 1! Here’s everything you need to know to get that beautiful bird into the oven. Read on…