November 20

The Perfect Oven-Roasted Bird

Serves 10 to 12

16- to 18-pound turkey


3/4 cup fresh parsley

1/2 cup fresh basil

1/4 cup fresh sage

1/4 cup fresh rosemary

1/2 cup fresh, minced shallots

1/4 cup fresh garlic cloves

3 tablespoons coarse ground black pepper

1/4 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

STUFFING: (see note)

salt and pepper

2 yellow onions

4 medium carrots

3 celery stalks

1 bunch of parsley

2 bay leaves


1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/4 cup black pepper

1/4 cup kosher salt

2 tablespoons celery salt

1/2 cup dry thyme

1/2 cup white wine

Remove innards from the turkey and rinse thoroughly with cold water, inside and out.

Combine all wet rub ingredients in a food processor and pulse for at least a minute until you've made a well-incorporated paste. Carefully pull the skin away from the turkey by inserting your index finger under the skin at the top of the turkey breast.

Try to separate as much skin as possible from the turkey, while leaving the skin itself intact. Using your fingers, spread the wet rub onto the bird, under the skin. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Salt and pepper the cavity of the bird. Coarse-chop the onions, carrots and celery, and stuff the cavity; then add the parsley bunch and bay leaves to the cavity.

Melt the unsalted butter and combine all dry-rub ingredients, except white wine. When the butter is lukewarm, brush it all over the bird. Then, liberally sprinkle your bird with the dry rub.

Place bird in a roasting pan, on a roasting rack. Pour the white wine into the roasting pan; cover, and bake for approximately 20 minutes per pound, depending on oven calibration.

During the last 15 minutes of cooking, uncover the bird and baste it inside and out. Finish cooking the turkey uncovered to give it a nice, crispy skin. To check for doneness, insert a meat thermometer into the breast of the bird. The bird is done when the thermometer reads 170 degrees, and the juices that run out of the bird from the thermometer hole are clear.

Note: You may choose to eat the veggies (if so, discard the bay leaves), but this stuffing is meant to enhance the bird's flavor.

Basic Herb Pan Sauce

Makes 1/2 cup

1/3 cup chicken stock, apple cider or wine

1/4 cup minced shallots

1 bay leaf

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (optional)

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, wine or cognac (or to taste)

salt and ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs (parsley, thyme andor rosemary) (optional)

1 tablespoon butter, preferably unsalted

After cooking lamb chops, pork chops or chicken breast, remove them to a platter and keep warm. Pour off the fat and heat the skillet to medium-high. Add the chicken broth or wine.

Stir with a wooden spoon to loosen and dissolve any brown bits. Bring to a boil and add the shallots, bay leaf, Dijon mustard, if using, lemon juice, wine or cognac, and salt and ground black pepper to taste.

Cook, stirring occasionally over medium-high heat until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add heavy cream, if using, and cook until it is reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, strain the sauce through a sieve, if you want, and, if desired, stir in 1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs. Discard bay leaf. Swirl in butter and spoon over the meat.
--"The All New All Purpose Joy of Cooking" (Scribner, 1997, $30)

Broccoli Rape Pesto

Serve over grilled lamb chops

Serves 4

1 bunch broccoli rape

4 sliced garlic cloves

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

2 anchovy fillets, soaked in milk for 20 minutes and rinsed

1 cup brown chicken stock (see note)

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and set up an ice bath in the sink or nearby. Take the broccoli rape and blanch it in the boiling water until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain, then plunge it into the ice bath to stop the cooking. When cooled, drain it again and pat dry.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the broccoli rape, garlic cloves, capers, anchovy fillets and 1 cup of chicken stock. Pulse for 30 seconds.

Slowly drizzle in olive oil and pulse until emulsified like a pesto. Do not overprocess. You can reheat the pesto gently over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes.

Note: You can fake it by reducing 1 1/2 cups of stock with a little tomato paste, red wine, black peppercorns, oregano and a bay leaf. If you do, discard bay leaf before serving.
--"The Babbo Cookbook" (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2002, $40)

Orange and Ginger Sauce

For poultry or wild fowl

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup chopped shallots or scallions

3/4 cup chopped mushrooms

1 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

3 cups chicken stock (optional)

3/4 cup fresh orange juice

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

fresh lemon juice to taste (optional)

salt and pepper

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots or scallions and the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until very lightly browned. Increase the heat to high and add the wine and ginger.

Boil until reduced by half. Add the stock and the orange juice and continue to boil until reduced by half. Add the cream and continue to cook until the sauce reaches a nice consistency.

Strain it, and add in the orange zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
--Adapted from "The All New All Purpose Joy of Cooking"

No-Bake Fruitcake

Makes one 2 1/2 -pound fruitcake, serving 12

1/2 cup Pet evaporated milk

3 tablespoons orange juice or orange liqueur

16 finely cut marshmallows

3 1/2 cups very fine graham-cracker crumbs

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/4 cup raisins

3/4 cup chopped, seeded dates

3/4 cup nuts

1/4 cup candied pineapple

1/3 cup candied cherries

2 tablespoons candied orange peel

In a small bowl, combine evaporated milk, orange juice and marshmallows. In a large mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add marshmallow mixture and mix thoroughly. Toss and knead with your hands to combine fully. Press firmly into a waxed-paper-lined 8-cup loaf pan. Cover top tightly with waxed paper and chill at least 2 days before using. Keep in refrigerator.

Tester Reiley's comments: "A dense, moist, fruit-filled cake, it will satisfy even fruitcake haters. I would use chopped walnuts and pecans for the nuts, and I would suggest using green and red candied cherries to make the resulting cake a festive rainbow of colors.

"The liqueur gives the cake a more adult flavor. I might even add a splash of brandy to the marshmallow mixture before combining it with the remaining ingredients. A slice of this would be [good] served with a dollop of whipped cream flavored gently with vanilla. If kept tightly covered and refrigerated, the cake lasts many days."

Tomato and Sheep's Milk Cheese Bruschetta

Serves 4

2 tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into 1/4 -inch cubes

10 fresh basil leaves, finely shredded

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 large garlic cloves, peeled, 1 halved, the other 3 sliced paper-thin

eight 3/4 -inch slices of crusty peasant bread

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt, to taste

1/4 pound cacio di roma or other semisoft sheep's milk cheese

Preheat the grill or broiler.

In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, black pepper and sliced garlic. Set aside.

Grill or toast the bread for 2 to 4 minutes, until golden-brown. Rub one side of each slice of bread with one of the garlic halves, then brush with some of the olive oil.

Season the tomato mixture with salt, and spoon some of it onto each of the eight slices of bread. With a vegetable peeler, shave cacio di roma over each piece and serve immediately.

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