Robin Benzle, Turkey Day Tips
1. THE BIRD.
I’ve been using this trick for years: it’s the Under-The-Skin method of roasting your turkey so the flavor goes down into the meat instead of just on the skin. In a medium bowl, blend together one stick of softened butter (two if you have a big bird over 18 pounds), 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate from a can and one tablespoon dried oregano leaves. Then, carefully loosen the skin of the turkey around the breast area by slipping your fingers under the skin. Grab a handful of seasoned butter and spread it between the skin and the meat. Rub the outside of the bird with the stuff that’s left on your hands. Roast according to standard directions.
2. THE STUFFING.
I prefer not to stuff the bird – I cook the stuffing separately in a casserole dish. Just before the turkey is done, take a big spoonful or two of the turkey juice from the bottom of the pan and drizzle it on the stuffing as it’s warming up. It will taste like you cooked it in the turkey.
3. THE MASHED POTATOES.
For a nice touch, stir in some freshly grated nutmeg.
4. THE SWEET POTATOES.
Try twice-baked sweet potatoes with marshmallows: Bake sweet potatoes until tender. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop most of potato out of the skin into a saucepan (leave about ¼ inch of potato for stability). Mash with butter, a splash of milk and salt and pepper just as you would regular mashed potatoes. Stir in miniature marshmallows. Stuff shells with mixture, sprinkle brown sugar on top and return to a 400 degree oven until heated through, about 12 minutes.
5. THE VEGETABLE.
You have to have something green with all this brown food! Love ‘em or hate ‘em, my choice is Brussels sprouts with almonds. Trim sprouts and cut in half. Microwave in a little water until tender, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, saute whole, blanched almonds in butter until browned and toss with sprouts. Season with salt and pepper.
6. THE PIE.
If you’re in charge of the pies this year, you almost have to have pumpkin. And something with chocolate, of course. Chocolate Walnut Pecan Pie With Bourbon Whipped Cream (makes 2 pies)
4 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 ½ cups light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chunks
2/3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 8” pie crusts Preheat oven to 350.
Whisk eggs and yolks in large bowl until frothy. Add corn syrup, both sugars, butter, maple syrup and vanilla. Mix well. Sprinkle chocolate and nuts in pie crusts. Pour filling over and bake in center of oven 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until set. Cool and store at room temperature. (One pie can be frozen for Christmas if you like).
To make bourbon-whipped cream (rum can also be used), beat 1 cup heavy whipping cream with electric beater until soft peaks form. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon bourbon. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spread on pie before serving. HAPPY THANKSGIVING. THE DIET STARTS FRIDAY.