Executive Chef and Partner, Village, 62 West Ninth Street NY NY 10011
year, when I was the chef at the Odeon, I catered Thanksgiving for
the David Letterman Show. It was a lot of fun, but it involved cutting
up something like 37 turkeys. The day we did this I had a new cook
who had just arrived from France. He was so unnerved by the experience
that he got back on the plane the next day. So, I think there is something
about Thanksgiving that only Americans understand. There are many
Americans who only cook on Thanksgiving: They are deathly afraid of
hurting themselves in the process. Thanksgiving comes with a special
set of anxieties.
My advice is, most importantly, to make way too much food. Anything
less is unpatriotic. It's ok if the turkey breast is a little dried
out. You will still have access to the foodie VIP lounge in heaven,
even if you don't turn the bird every thirty seconds. That's what
gravy was invented for. And, if all else fails, plan to let mom cook
1. Make sure the turkey is completely defrosted
and at room temperature.
2. For an unstuffed bird, the cooking time will be about 10 minutes
per lb. at 350 degrees F. Using an instant read thermometer, the breast
must register 160 degrees F at the deepest part of thigh). You can
always throw the legs back in the oven! They always take longer.
3. One twenty-pound turkey will feed ten people, (leftovers included).
If you have a large enough oven, two smaller turkeys can be easier
4. Set aside at least one half hour for the bird to rest after cooking.
Stock You can make this stock three days ahead of time and
keep it refrigerated. Yield: approximately 1 gallon (this recipe may be halved)
Roast 10 lbs. of turkey wings and drums in the oven.Cover bones
by 4 inches with equal mixture of water and canned chicken stock
Add some carrots and onions.Boil for three hours.Strain, cool, and
skim the fat from the surface. Boil it down with the giblets and
the neck (about 1 gallon), or until the stock has a strong flavor.
Use stock to make your gravy, and to moisten your stuffing, which
you can then cook outside the turkey, and still give it a nice turkey