Nancy Oakes
Boulevard Restaurant, San Francisco, CA

We prefer brining the turkey. It's really the best way to come out with a moist evenly browned turkey. Brining also improves the flavor and the texture of the turkey meat. The November issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine includes a method for brining that is basically the one I follow. I also like to serve a squash dish and an interesting relish to accompany the turkey (recipes follow).

Butternut Squash & Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding
Nancy Oakes, Boulevard

Yield: 18 servings

  • 1 loaf brioche
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups diced yellow onions
  • 1-1/2 lbs chanterelle mushrooms, or any combination of domestic mushrooms, shiitake, hedgehog, porcini and oyster
  • 3 cups diced butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup creme fraiche
  • 6 whole eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated asiago cheese
Roast butternut squash with olive oil,
salt and pepper at 400 degrees,
about 7 minutes, until tender.
Roast mushrooms with thyme and garlic
in a 475 degree oven for 7 minutes.

Remove crust from the bread and cut into 1 inch cubes.
Grease a large baking dish about 12" by 18" with some of the butter.

In a large saute pan melt the remaining butter and saute the onions until soft.

In a large bowl, toss together bread, mushrooms, squash and parsley.
In another small bowl, whisk together the milk, creme fraiche, eggs,
salt, pepper and cheese. Add the milk mixture to the bread mixture,
pour into the baking dish and press down firmly.

Allow pudding to set 30 minutes before baking.
Reduce oven to 350 degrees and bake pudding about 1 hour.
If pudding browns, cover with foil.

Test for doneness by inserting a knife in the middle, it should come out clean.

Sweet Potato Pecan and Tangerine Relish
Nancy Oakes, Boulevard

Serves 10
  • 5 sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into 1" cubes
  • 3 tablespoons rosemary
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 red peppers, roasted, skinned & diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted & coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups tangerine peeled, seeded and separated
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 Anaheim chilies, chopped
  • salt & pepper

Toss the sweet potato in a little olive oil, rosemary & garlic.
Roast in a 350 degree oven until tender, cool.
Mix together sweet potatoes, red peppers, red onions,
pecans, chilies and tangerines. Combine maple syrup,
vinegar, oil and season to taste.
Mix dry ingredients with dressing.
Serve with turkey.

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