Message From Jane
November always signals the beginning of the holidays and memories a-many. Thanksgiving has always been a very special holiday because of the true meaning and spirit of thankfulness for the blessings and gifts we have.
Thanksgiving is also all about the food—usually turkey and all the trimmings. There are so many ways to roast and or cook turkeys—from my favorite English slow roasting to deep frying and many other theories in between. Whether you are a traditionalist or like trying new recipes and methods, I wanted to share some little known tips that help create juicy, tender, flavorful turkey.
Turkey facts I find most people are unaware of are—
Never salt the skin, instead 2 days before roasting, rub 1 Tablespoon salt into the body and thoracic or neck cavity for every 7 pounds the turkey weighs. Salting the skin dries out the skin and causes cracks, and the skin then looses it’s juice, making for dry, tough meat.
To assure brown, beautiful skin, either melt or render the turkey fat from inside the cavity by heating on a medium heat until it melts. Or, melt unsalted butter. Brush the skin with either and then sprinkle minced herbs such as thyme or sage over the fat and pat in if necessary to make the herbs stick.
And, start the turkey roasting at a high temperature of 425 F to further insure a bronzed skin. Roast for a minimum of 15 minutes for a 15 pound turkey or smaller and add another 5 minutes for turkeys weighing more. Then reduce the heat and roast as you wish.
Simmer the giblets on Monday or Tuesday night before Thanksgiving in chicken stock until very tender and then chop, ready for adding to the gravy on T-day, saving the last minute work.
“Heat Up” Your Thanksgiving Dinner
Knowing that eating chiles at least 24 out of every 30 days really assists overall health and well-being, you may want to “tuck” some chiles into your Thanksgiving dinner. . Add green or red chile to the stuffing (or dressing), or to the gravy. Add chiles to your side dishes or salad. And believe it or not, chiles are great in desserts, from chocolate cake to pumpkin pie. So live it up--chiles lift your heart and your health!!
Here’s some fun ideas for spicy appetizers. For a different taste and perfect timing for fall harvest, prepare my Roasted Beets with Romesco sauce several days ahead of time and serve cold. Or try my Grilled Serrano-Lime Shrimp which can be marinated a day or two ahead for last minute grilling or broiling. These recipes are from my new Chili Madness cookbook, which is just a hoot. I hope I will meet many of you on my tour to 19 cities in January and February.