Stephen Lyle, Executive Chef and Partner,
62 West Ninth Street NY NY 10011

"One 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 next year."

Turkey Tips

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 to handle.
4. Set aside at least one half hour for the bird to rest after cooking.

Turkey 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 flavor.

[Turkey Stock]  [Pan Roast of Oysters with Poblano Chiles on Toasted Cornbread]

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