When four top chefs talk turkey, they each have their own unique ideas about how best to prepare the big bird. The golden brown results reflect the diversity that our nation is built on – we’ve got a Thai turkey, a French turkey and even a Chinese turkey. Here’s how four culinary luminaries plan to cook Thanksgiving dinner this year.
Tyler Florence – cookbook author and cooking show star – will roast turkey on the Today show on Thanksgiving Day, as he has for several years. His take? Deconstructing the turkey, grilling it and serving it with potatoes and a celery-walnut pesto.
“I treat it like a big chicken,” Florence says. “I do a caramelized leek and cornbread stuffing separately. When you cut up the turkey, you get all the flavor and all the moisture – and it takes a lot less time.”
Daniel Boulud, whose French restaurant Daniel is consistently voted one of the Most Popular in the Zagat survey, believes in brining the bird, with French spices.
“It flavors the meat and keeps the moisture in,” says Boulud. “And having a little sugar in the brine helps the bird to have nice color as well.”
While Boulud has his own spice line, you can also custom-make your own by using a butter infused with orange zest, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. “Bring your turkey out of the oven when it is 145 to 150 degrees, and let it rest,” advises this seasoned chef. “It will continue to cook once out of the oven and the temperature will rise to almost 170 degrees in half an hour.”