Slow-Roasted Holiday Turkey
The recipe for “Holiday Turkey” is courtesy Andrew Schloss’ “Cooking Slow” (Chronicle Books).
1 fresh turkey, about 15 pounds, preferably local
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 quart apple cider
2 teaspoons dried herbs — pick your favorites! Thyme, rosemary, and oregano are classics.
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Remove the giblets from the turkey and discard (or save for another use, like making stock). Rinse the turkey inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Rub it all over with salt and pepper. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. During that time, the surface of the turkey will become visibly dry and the skin will tighten; this encourages a nice crisp skin on the finished bird.
2. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 hour before you plan to start roasting. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Put the turkey on a rack set in a large, flameproof roasting pan. Drizzle the oil over the top.
3. Roast for 1 hour to crisp the skin. Reduce the oven temperature to 175 F. Pour the cider into the roasting pan and sprinkle the poultry seasoning in the liquid. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers to 170 F. This can take about an hour a pound, which means you might have to set an early morning alarm clock to get started.
4. Transfer the turkey to a carving board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for about 15 minutes (see tip). Meanwhile, skim the fat from the surface of the liquid in the pan. Put the roasting pan over two burners and bring the pan drippings to a boil over high heat. Cook until the juices reduce and thicken slightly, enough to coat a spoon, about 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Carve the turkey and serve with cider pan juices.
Resting tip: Slow-roasted meats need far less resting time than those that are traditionally roasted. The reason for resting meat is to allow juices that have collected in the cooler center time to migrate back into the dryer (hotter) exterior sections after it comes out of the oven. Because slow-roasted meats are cooked evenly and a temperature that keeps most of the juices in place, a resting period is largely unnecessary. A brief resting time does allow the meat to become a little firmer as it cools, making it easier to carve.
Irresistible Basil Mashed Potatoes
This recipe for “Irresistible Basil Mashed Potatoes” is from Marlena Spieler’s “Yummy Potatoes” (Chronicle Books).
Serves 4 to 6
2 pounds floury, baking-type potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 to 3 cups fresh basil leaves of any type (2 to 3 ounces — a nice big bunch)
2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
4 tablespoons butter
1. Place the potatoes in a saucepan and fill with water to cover. Add a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are just tender. Drain, return to the heat and shake for a few minutes to dry them out; turn off the heat, cover the pan and keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, blanch the basil. Plunge it into a saucepan of boiling water, cook a moment or two until the leaves wilt and slightly change color and lift out of the pot using a slotted spoon, then plunge into a bowl of ice water. Leave for about five minutes or until it turns brightly colored, then lift from the ice water.
3. Heat the cream in a saucepan until bubbles form around the edge of the pan.
4. Squeeze the basil in your hands gently to rid it of excess water from cooking. Place in a food processor and whirl to purée. Slowly pour the hot cream into this puréed basil and whirl until it forms a fragrant, pale green cream.
5. Coarsely mash the potatoes with a masher, then add the basil cream and mash it in; work in the butter, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Gnocchi with Roasted Cauliflower
This recipe is from “Real Simple Dinner Tonight: Done!” (Time Home Entertainment) from the editors of Real Simple.
1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
1⁄2 cup fresh sage leaves
6 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 pounds gnocchi (fresh or frozen)
1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan
1. Heat oven to 400 F. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the cauliflower and sage with the oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper. Roast, tossing once, until the cauliflower is golden brown and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
2. Fifteen minutes before the cauliflower is finished, cook the gnocchi according to the package directions. Divide the gnocchi among bowls and top with the cauliflower and Parmesan. Drizzle with olive oil to finish.
Tip: Cauliflower florets are easier to separate if you remove the core first. Place the head stem-side up. Using a paring knife, cut around the core at an angle, creating a cone-shaped piece, then lift it out. If the head is very large, halve it first through the core.
Pear and Chocolate Frangipane Tart
This recipe is from “Chocolate: Deliciously Indulgent Recipes for Chocolate Lovers” (Ryland, Peters & Small) by Maxine Clark.
Serves 8 to 10
4 medium, firm pears, unpeeled
2⁄3 cup seedless raspberry jam
2 tablespoons Ruby Port
Toasted shredded or silvered almonds, to scatter (optional)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg yolk
21⁄2 to 3 tablespoons chilled water
Chocolate Frangipane Filling
6 1⁄2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 to 2 tablespoons chocolate liqueur
2⁄3 cup ground almonds
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
To make the pastry
1. Put the butter and egg yolk in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the chilled water and blend again.
2. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl then pour in the dry ingredients, blending until just combined.
3. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently until smooth. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Bring to room temperature before rolling out.
To make the chocolate frangipane filling
1. Put the butter in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy.
2. Gradually add the sugar and beat until pale and fluffy.
3. Gradually beat in the eggs and the chocolate liqueur, then stir in the ground almonds and the cocoa. Cover and set aside.
1. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and then use it to line the tart pan. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and refrigerate until firm.
2. Halve the pears and scoop out the cores. Cut each half into thirds.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 F and put a heavy baking sheet on the middle shelf.
4. Spread the chocolate frangipane evenly over the chilled pastry crust and arrange the pears randomly over the chocolate frangipane.
5. Transfer the tart to the preheated baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the pastry starts to brown. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F and bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until the pears are tender and the frangipane is set. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
6. About 20 minutes before serving, melt the jam with the port in a small pan and boil for 1 minute to make a glaze. Remove the tart from the pan, brush with the glaze, scatter with the almonds, if using, and serve at room temperature — never chilled — with whipped cream if you’d like.