Hello everyone and welcome to a special edition of the Chop Talk Blog!. We’ve got a special event announcement first and a Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips on how to to help you make the Perfect Holiday Turkey, along with a recipe for Traditional Rustic Cranberry Sauce! But, the BIG DEAL is we’ve cooked up HUGE savings and discounts for you, our chefs, cooks and foodies, with our #BlackFriday-#CyberMonday Sale Holiday Gift Guide! Lots of products, Lots of savings! Only at Ergo Chef!
METROCOOKING DC – SHOP SIP SAMPLE!
Ergo Chef will be demoing at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in DC – Dec. 9th & 10th – info here: https://www.metrocookingdc.com/ Join us for the 12th annual MetroCooking DC Show! The ultimate food lover’s weekend returns to the Washington Convention Center December 9-10, 2017. Whether you’re an aspiring home cook or expert entertainer, the two-day culinary extravaganza provides a one-of-a-kind experience for all food and entertaining enthusiasts.
Enjoy cooking demos and book signings with top Celebrity Chefs. Sample from over 50 local restaurants in the Grand Tasting Pavilion. Wash down your fare with a local brew from the Beer, Wine and Spirits Garden. Learn new techniques and tips in the Taste Talk Workshops. Sharpen your skills in the pop-up cooking school. Meet your favorite James Beard award-winning chef and see them whip up delicious dishes live on the James Beard Stage.
Food Tricks & Kitchen Tips
“Making The Perfect Holiday Turkey” by Louis S. Luzzo, Sr
Roasting a turkey during the Holidays can either make or break a successful meal. Like many at home cooks, we have a few horror stories of the days before I became the self proclaimed, “Gourmet Guy.” I have also heard stories from others, both friends and family, about such things as leaving the plastic ‘chitlins’ bag’ in the bird, raw and underdone turkeys, to piles of charcoal on a plate. In this installment, I am going to give you some fool proof rules-of-thumb and methods to insure that your Thanksgiving meal comes off as a complete success that will wow your guests. From the Menu Planning, to Proper Seasoning , to how to pick the right turkey, we’ll take a look at all the basics.
How big of a turkey should I roast?
Most importantly, we need to count the amount of guests we will be serving. A good rule of thumb to go by would be:
- One (1) pound of raw turkey per person which includes a moderate amount for leftovers.
- 1 1/2 pounds per person, if you have hearty eaters or want ample leftovers.
- 3/4 pound of whole turkey per person for no leftovers.
To properly thaw the turkey (if frozen), I recommend leaving it in a refrigerator for 4-5 days to slow thaw under a cool temperature. If you are pressed for time, you may place it in a sink or a container in the sink and run cold water over it for a few hours. Once the bird is thawed, you are ready to prepare it for cooking.
Not every home cook will go the extra mile at home, but I’ve found that brining your turkey can incorporate a great level of flavor and make your turkey extremely moist. I typically brine most poultry and pork before cooking, and have made several different types of flavored brines. A brine by definition is; a strong solution of water and salt used for pickling or preserving foods. A sweetener such as sugar or molasses is sometimes added. I really enjoy molasses and brown sugar and balance it out with some savory herbs, bay leaves, peppercorns and garlic. Depending on the size of the bird, you can brine a turkey for a few hours, or even let it go overnight. But, it is very important to remember that the brining solution is high in salt and you must adjust and lessen the amount of salt you use in your seasoning when you prepare your turkey for roasting.
Seasoning & Prepping the Bird
The next step can be a lot of fun, as you get to be very creative with seasoning and preparing your turkey. Seasonings offer a great deal of flavor and can be as simple as salt and black pepper, or as elaborate as Cajun spice or a rub consisting of garlic, chilies and dried herbs. Be sure to rub the entire cavity with your seasoning blend of choice, and always lubricate the outside of the skin with oil or butter so the seasonings will adhere and cook into the bird.
*Tip For Crispier Skin
Crisp skin and a moist center is what we all desire when roasting the perfect turkey and I have learned a little trick to enhance the outer skin. Carefully lift the skin up around the bird and slide a few pats of softened butter underneath. Generously rub the outer skin with butter and your seasonings, and let them sink in for about an hour before roasting. Many family recipes include stuffing the bird with all kinds of aromatics or even a traditional bread stuffing. It is totally up to you to decide which way you want to go, but stuffing a turkey’s cavity can really enhance the flavor of the meat.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to stuffing; In the Bird (stuffing) and & Out of the Bird (dressing). In my house we make both, or sometimes do a cornbread Oyster dressing (recipe below) as well. In some households, the turkey is stuffed with other birds; a boned chicken is stuffed into a boned duck, which is then stuffed into the turkey. Called a Tur-duck-en, this is actually not a new concept. In ancient Rome, as well as in medieval times, cooks stuffed animals with other animals. A 13th century Andalusian cookbook includes a recipe for a ram stuffed with small birds. A similar recipe for a camel stuffed with sheep stuffed with bustards stuffed with carp stuffed with eggs is also mentioned in T.C. Boyle’s book Water Music. British celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall makes an incredible ten-bird roast, calling it “one of the most spectacular and delicious roasts you can lay before your loved ones.” A large turkey is stuffed with a goose, duck, mallard, guinea fowl, chicken, pheasant, partridge, pigeon and woodcock. The roast feeds around 30 people and also includes stuffing made from two pounds of sausage meat and half a pound of streaky bacon along with sage, port and red wine. Wow, now that truly is a mouthful!
Turkey stuffing usually consists of bread crumbs or cubes, dried bread, with onion, celery, salt, pepper, and other spices and herbs such as sage, or a mixture like poultry seasoning. In some cases, sausage or oysters are added as well. The term stuffing usually applies to the mixture when it is placed into the bird, while dressing is usually used when cooked outside. If you want to add a little sweetness to the turkey, stuff the cavity with some apples and raisins. If you are looking for something more savory and herbaceous, try adding rosemary and thyme with a little garlic and onion. For our purposes here, and since I am the Gourmet Guy, we’ll just stick to a traditional Oyster Stuffing.
Makes 14 cups
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup salted butter
5 cups crumbled cornbread
1 pound bulk pork sausage, rendered and drained of fat (optional)
Turkey giblets, cooked and chopped (optional)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 stalks celery, diced (if you do not like cooked celery, as I do not, you can substitute a teaspoon of celery salt, but adjust your salt amount accordingly)
1 pint shucked oysters, drained, or more if desired (reserve the oyster liquor, should be about a 1/4 of a cup)
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon paprika
Ground black pepper to taste
In a skillet, saute the celery & onions in butter until translucent.Remove. In the same pan, saute the sausage until just about done, but don’t overcook. Drain.
In a large bowl combine the crumbled cornbread, cooked celery, cooked onions, cooked giblets, cooked sausage, oysters, parsley, salt, pepper, paprika, dried sage. Mix well.
Beat the 2 eggs. Add the eggs and chicken stock and oyster liquor to the stuffing mixture and thoroughly incorporate.
In the bird:
Stuff the bird’s cavity. Remove stuffing promptly once bird is cooked.
Out of the bird:
Bake the stuffing in a large casserole dish in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Roasting Your Turkey
So, now that we are ready to roast, how do I know how long it should cook for, and how high the temperature should be? USDA says that a turkey should not roast under 325 degrees Fahrenheit, so that’s a fair starting point. Approximate cooking times for an unstuffed turkey are as follows: (it is around 20 to 30 minutes per pound)
- 10 – 18 lb bird 3 to 3 ½ hrs
- 19 – 22 lb bird 3 ½ to 4 hrs
- 22 – 24 lb bird 4 to 4 ½ hrs
- 24 – 29 lb bird 4 ½ to 5 hrs
One helpful hint to achieving a nice golden skin, is to start the “searing” process by cooking it in a 400 – 425 degree oven for 10-15 minutes (depending on the size) to start the browning process (sugars begin to caramelize), then lower the temperature to 325 degrees and slow roast for the appropriate time.Basting is another way to impart even browning and to distribute some of those great flavorful juices. You may baste with the juices found in the bottom of the pan, or use some type of fat. Also popular, is to baste with another flavorful liquid, for example a brown stock fortified with apple cider vinegar and herbs. If the bird begins to brown too much, you may cover it with aluminum foil until it has reached doneness, and then finish for the last few minutes uncovered. Be careful not to cover the bird entirely, as you don’t want to steam the turkey.
How do I know if my bird is done? The USDA recommends that the turkey be cooked to a temperature of 165 degrees as measured in the innermost part of the thigh. If the thigh is 165 degrees, the breast meat is likely to be 10 degrees hotter. Many cooks would tell you that a turkey roasted to those temperatures is overdone and would taste unacceptably dry. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness, try not to rely on those “pop up timers” that come with most turkeys. You can also prick the leg joint with a fork, and if the juices run just slightly pink or clear, the turkey is done.
To test the accuracy of your instant read thermometer, insert the tip about 2 inches deep into boiling water. At sea level it should register 212 degrees F. If it does not, replace it; or if it has a calibration device, reset it for accuracy. Nobody wants an overcooked bird, so start checking your bird about 3/4’s of the way through the total recommended cooking time.
Time to make the gravy! On the stove top, use the same pan that you roasted this delicious turkey in. The drippings and leftover fat and liquid are going to make this gravy a very tasty one. I like to use a ratio of 1 Tablespoon of fat to 1 Tablespoon of flour to create a “roux” that will thicken my gravy. You can use chicken or turkey stock, or even just deglaze with sherry or white wine and add water. Just be sure to cook out the flour so it doesn’t leave a raw taste to the gravy. Season with salt pepper to taste.
Ergo Chef Holiday Gift Guide Part 1
Welcome to the first installment of our Holiday Gift Guide. We have put together a list of some of the most popular and economical products available for you cooks and chefs out there. We are bringing you huge discounts of 10%-25% OFF* on every item on our website for our #BlackFriday #CyberMonday Sale this year. Sale starts at 12:01 AM Friday 11/24/17 through Midnight Monday, 11/27/17. We hope you enjoy the guide and of course we wish you all happy shopping and a very Happy Thanksgiving!
*25% discount will be applied to your cart at checkout. Does not include Services or Factory Seconds. We will have 10% Extra off for those items.
SHINZUI 8 Inch 67 Layer Damascus Chef Knife
Crimson Steak Knife Set
The Ergo Chef CRIMSON Series 4 piece Kitchen steak knife set features polished precision sharp blades and a tapered pinch grip bolster for comfort and control. The beautiful wood grain design of the G10 fiberglass composite handles make these a great addition to any table setting while impressing guests with their great weight and feel through every cut. From the steak knives full bolster and contoured comfort handle to the blade these give you great control when slicing through all beef, poultry and vegetables. Order yours today and discover the beauty and precision of Ergo Chef Crimson Series steak knives in your kitchen.
Pro Series Carving Set
This Ergo Chef Pro-Series 2 Piece carving set includes a One Piece 8″ Solid Carving Fork and a fully forged one piece 9″ Carving knife with Hollow grounds. The precision sharp beveled edge & polished blade alows for smooth precise slicing of all your proteins. Comes in a black gift box with magnet front flap for safe storage when not in use. Perfect for slicing & serving up all your roasts, chicken, ham, and steaks with ease. Let this highly rated cutlery line help you cut better in your kitchen.
List Price: $130.00
Award Winning Pro Series locking DUO Tongs!
This 3pc. Locking Kitchen Tong set has a 9″ pair for serving and small stove top cooking. A 12″ Pair (Tested & Recommended by Cooking Club of America) when you need a bit more reach and a 15″ Pair for the grill & professional kitchen. They feature 500 degree silicone heads on one side for non-stick pan use, and steel teeth on other side for picking up anything you need a real firm grip on. Will pick up anything, from Ice, pasta, vegetables, to shredded lettuce, salads, chicken, steak, & pork. Anything! You can even stick them in a deep fryer and let the slot in one head drains the oil before plating. Or use the other solid head side for scooping sauce while plating. The non-slip grip handle keep you in control & locking slide ring keeps them closed when storing & opened when in use. Order yours today!
List Price: $75.00
My Juicer II Personal Blender with Grinder & Extra Sport Bottle
The perfect gift this holiday season for the ‘juicer’ in your life! My Juicer II Personal Blender Smoothie Maker with Grinder Assembly & Extra 20oz. Sport Bottle!
Blend Well – Live Better! This new My Juicer II has an updated stylish design with a powerful heavy duty 300+ Watt motor for crushing ice, blending juice drinks and smoothies for a healthy lifestyle.
Chef Gear Roll Bags
Part of the new trademarked “Chef Gear” by Ergo Chef, LLC, The Chef Gear Pocket Knife Roll bag carry cases are made from durable nylon to securely & safely transport your valuable knives & tools. Elastic top pockets keep the knives secure and the heavy duty double zipper keeps the bag closed for safe transporting. Features a Card holders for identification and a padded handle for comfortable carrying. Get your Chef Gear roll bag today!
List Price: $30.00
List Price: $45.00
The must have gloves for safe food preparation and protein breakdown. High Performance Level 5 Protection, Food Grade by Ergo Chef. These gloves give you piece of mind when prepping slippery foods and help you avoid cuts without sacrificing comfort and feel. They are designed to be light and thin so you can feel the items you are cutting, our CHEF GEAR(TM) Cut Resistant gloves weigh less than an ounce and feel surprisingly soft given how much protection they provide. Available in four sizes-small, medium and large & XL to ensure they fit snugly when you wear them. See size chart picture to be sure you get the right fit. Sold in Pairs.
The ergonomic design incorporates a full radius on the blade for smooth and efficient cutting. The abbreviated bolster makes it easy to hone & sharpen the knife edge which comes precision sharp out of the box. The cutlery has hollow grounds in the blade which help reduce friction and provide less sticking for quicker and smoother cuts. Take the Pro-Series cutlery challenge! Put the engineered, proven and tested design of these knives to work in your kitchen and enjoy what 10s of thousands of chefs and home cooks enjoy every day…comfort, precision, & less strain when making a meal.
Special Pro Series Spotlight: Patented Ergonomic 8” Pro-Series Hollow Ground Chef Knife
The Ergo Chef Pro-Series 8″ Chef with hollow ground blade has a knife bolster area that is rounded for comfort and excellent control. The ergonomic design incorporates a full radius on the blade for smooth and efficient cutting. The abbreviated bolster makes it easy to hone & sharpen the knife edge which comes precision sharp out of the box. The cutlery has hollow grounds in the blade which help reduce friction and provide less sticking for quicker and smoother cuts. Take the Pro-Series cutlery challenge! Put the engineered, proven and tested design of this knife to work in your kitchen and enjoy what 10’s of thousands of chefs and home cooks enjoy every day…comfort, precision, & less strain when making a meal.
CRIMSON G10 Cutlery Set is crafted from high carbon German steel with special ground precision sharp edges for light work of any kitchen prep task. The handles are made with the world’s strongest G10 (Fiberglass Resin Material) in a reddish brown wood grain look & no maintenance needed. The polished blades are stain resistant for easy to cleaning and maintenance. Enjoy the beauty of these fine precision cutting blades in your kitchen and discover the quality, passion and ergonomics behind Ergo Chef.
Myron Mixon 3-in-1 Grill Tool
Personalized Laser Engraving
Tired of trying to figure out what to get that chef, cook or foodie in your life? This could be THE perfect solution. Personalize your knives or gifts with a permanent black Laser Engraving of a Name (5 to 20 Characters) or Initials (up to 3 Characters) on the knife blade. Great Corporate Gift Idea as well. Please allow up to 7 working days (Monday – Friday) for this service and allow for 3 to 8 days before you receive it. Get your Knives and orders in now so you have them back in time for Christmas!
Look for the second installment of our Holiday Gift Guide Mid December! Til then, Happy Cooking and have a great and Happy Thanksgiving!