If nothing gets your culinary juices flowing like a succulent, crispy-skinned chicken, piping hot and fresh out of the oven then this week’s Foodie Phrase is for you. While at first listen the word spatchcock might sound somewhat, well, offensive, it’s meaning is, I assure you, completely innocuous and oh sooooooo delicious!
Spatchcocking is the process of removing the backbone of a chicken so it can then be flattened out and cooked. Also known as butterflying, which is not nearly as much fun to say, spatchcocking is a relatively easy technique to perform. All you need is a set of very sharp kitchen shears (we positively love these from Cutco) and an uncooked bird. Simply place the bird breast side down on a cutting board and, using your shears, cut a parallel line up both sides of the bird’s backbone from the tail to the neck (see photo above) until you can separate it from the body – easy peasy! You can either reserve the backbone for making stock or toss it, depending on how you roll.
This technique is helpful for two main reasons: (1) a spatchcocked bird roasts much faster than a non-spatchcocked bird, and (2) a spatchcocked bird cooks more evenly as well, no more dried out breast meat waiting for the luscious dark meat to cook. A spatchcocked bird (can you tell I like using that word?) is ideal for roasting on a sheet pan but you can also cook it on the grill as well.
Once you’ve successfully spatchcocked your bird, feel free to season it any way your heart desires (i.e. lemon and thyme, buffalo sauce or tradish poultry seasoning). For a delightful “one-pan” meal, go ahead and add your favorite ingredients to the roasting pan with it. Mushrooms? Sure! Onions? Of course! Potatoes? Why the hell not! You can really make it your own using whatever leftover veggies you have in the fridge or flavor combination you’re craving. One of our favorites is our Burgundy-inspired Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions – total and complete YUM!
In addition to chicken, you can spatchcock virtually any type of poultry. If you’re feeling super adventurous, you could even spatchcock the Thanksgiving turkey! Something to think about. Ever since I discovered this technique, I almost never roast a chicken the traditional way unless I want to stuff it. And while I highly encourage you to try this technique at least once yourself, you can always ask your butcher to do it for you. Just be careful, he might think you’re propositioning him.
I hope you enjoy experimenting with the delicious technique and to check out more of our Foodie Phrases, please click here. Also, what’s YOUR favorite part of a roasted chicken – white meat, dark meat, crispy skin? Please let me know in the Comments section below!
Our latest Fast & Fabulous recipe was inspired by the post-Thanksgiving nirvana of leftovers! Nothing’s better than leftovers, am I right? This recipe for Roasted Chicken, Sage, Mushroom & Caramelized Onion Salad can handle just about any leftover you have on hand: chicken or turkey, sage, mushrooms, cranberry, onions and even gravy if you’re feeling particularly decadent. Bring. it. on!!! As luck would have... Read More
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In addition to your friends and family, a job you really love, and/or that fun vacation you took this Summer, our Thanksgiving Day Cheat Sheet is one more thing you’ll be giving thanks for this year! As you tackle the plethora of recipes you pretty much only make once a year, questions invariably emerge. How many cups in a quart?... Read More
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In addition to your friends, family, a job you love, and that dream vacation you took this Summer, our Thanksgiving Day Cheat Sheet is one more thing you’ll be giving thanks for this year!
As you tackle the plethora of recipes you pretty much only make once a year, questions invariably emerge. How many cups in a quart? To stuff or not to stuff? How many pounds of turkey per person? What was I thinking inviting thirty people over for Thanksgiving? Bookmark this page right now to save yourself a panic attack in front of thirty of your closest friends and family members. Scroll down for all our advice on Necessary Equipment, Liquid/Dry Measure Equivalents, a little Culinary Vocabulary, and 6 Tips & Tricks that will help get you through this crazy, culinary marathon!
Thermometer: You’ve put alot of effort into this meal so why risk a dried out or undercooked turkey? Eliminate the guesswork by using a good quality, digital read thermometer with a roasting probe and you’ll never ruin another piece of meat again! Just insert the probe into the deepest part of the thigh (being careful not to hit any bones) and roast the turkey until the thermometer reads 170 degrees. The bird should then rest for 20-30 minutes before carving during which time it will continue to cook just enough and the juices will redistribute resulting in a juicier turkey.
Electric carving knife: Rather than struggling with that dull, old Chef’s knife that’s been siting in your knife block needing sharpening for the past 5 years (or more), do yourself a favor and invest in an electric knife for occasions like this. A good electric knife will make carving that ginormous 25 pound bird feel like running a hot knife through butter.
Bulb Baster: Rather than risk burning your hand trying to clumsily baste your turkey with a metal spoon, the handy dandy bulb baster makes basting your bird with its beautiful juices a snap! Definitely worth the very minimal investment.
Roasting Pan with Rack: If you plan on hosting Thanksgiving on a yearly basis, a good quality roasting pan should be the first piece of equipment you invest in. A rack is important to keep the bird off the bottom of the pan where you can also roast vegetables, potatoes and herbs OR just collect all those heavenly juices to make your gravy. Keep in mind though, the same pan you roast your 20 lb Thanksgiving turkey wouldn’t be appropriate to roast your weeknight 5 lb. chicken, you’ll need a smaller pan for that.
Turkey platter, serving dishes, & spoons: After your cooking marathon the last thing you want to encounter is a shortage of serving platters, dishes, or serving spoons. Have a nice serving platter specifically for the turkey and set our your serving dishes and bowls the night before along with their corresponding serving piece to eliminate any confusion.
Liquid/Dry Measure Equivalents
1 gallon = 4 quarts = 8 pints = 16 cups = 128 ounces = 3.8 liters
1 Tablespoon = 3 teaspoons = 1/2 fluid ounce
1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons = 12 teaspoons = 2 ounces
1 pint = 2 cups = 16 ounces
1 cup = 8 ounces
4 cups = 1 quart
4 quarts = 1 gallon
Baste: to moisten with liquid (usually using the drippings or other liquids in the bottom of a roasting pan) during the cooking process. This task is usually done using your bulb baster.
Giblets: the edible organ meat of poultry which most commonly includes the heart, liver and gizzard. The giblets (along with the neck) are usually packaged together and inserted into the bird’s neck cavity. Be sure to remove prior to roasting or stuffing!
Spatchcock: the removal of the backbone of a bird such as a chicken or turkey which allows it to cook more quickly; also called butterflying.
Turducken: a dish consisting of a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck which is then stuffed into a deboned turkey. Once assembled, it is then either braised, roasted, grilled or barbequed.
6 Thanksgiving Tips & Tricks:
1.) Be sure to give yourself enough time to thaw your turkey. It takes 1 day for every 3 pounds to defrost so get out your calculators and do the math. Or, you could save yourself the trouble and purchase a fresh turkey, just be sure to check the purchase date on the label.
2.) To achieve the most delicious stuffing humanly possible, cook it inside the turkey! Just be sure to adjust your cooking time accordingly. A stuffed turkey can take a half hour to an hour longer than it would take to cook one that’s not stuffed – another great reason to invest in a good quality meat thermometer! If you have stuffing leftover that won’t fit in the bird, put it in a buttered casserole dish and cook it alongside the turkey.
3.) After experimenting for years with different rubs and brines, it turns out the secret to a cooking-magazine-cover ready turkey is butter! Add some chopped herbs such as sage and thyme to some softened butter, mix well and slather the bird on top of as well as under the skin for maximum moistness. Just be sure when working under the skin not to tear it and all those juices makes for a delicious gravy too!
4.) In addition to the turkey drippings, my secret to delicious gravy is to add some Cognac towards the end which really gives it fabulous depth of flavor!
5.) Make as many things in advance as humanly possible. This might sound like common sense but even something simple like having your veggies washed and prepped the night before will save you plenty of time.
6.) To highlight your beautiful meal, as well as appease your guests, it ALWAYS helps to have the right wines! We have 10 selections all picked out for your at The Wine Atelier, click here to view.
Wishing you and your family a very Happy and Delicious Thanksgiving,
Every major holiday on the calendar seems to culminate in a meal and usually one of epic proportion. From a Fourth of July cookout to Thanksgiving turkey dinner, friends and family gather around the holiday table at someone’s home and the majority of the work, by default, tends to fall upon that person or family. Sometimes the Host or Hostess willingly volunteers for the task, however, sometimes…not so much. Out of respect for our Holiday Hosts and Hostesses who so bravely take it upon themselves to entertain and feed the masses this Thanksgiving, it’s important to remember the etiquette of being a Gracious Holiday Guest.
I recently spoke with some friends who love to entertain and often host holiday family dinners. Under the veil of anonymity, they shared some of their biggest pet peeves and offered suggestions on “good guesting”:
1.) Avoid placing multiple calls to your Host or Hostess in the hours before the meal. In the hours and crucial last minutes before the holiday meal hits the table, your host or hostess is most likely in the kitchen figuring out how to make gravy for the first time, trying to use the fire extinguisher or dealing with another culinary calamity. So if you need directions to the house, crank up that GPS on your phone or call another guest at the dinner. A quick call to see if you can pick anything up on your way over is always appreciated but don’t be offended if your call goes straight to voice mail. “One of my dear friends would always want to chat on the phone on her drive over to my house for our holiday meal. I politely had to tell her I was trying to deal with some last minute issues and her feelings would be hurt.” Its best to be considerate and save chit chat for the dessert course and/or the day after.
2.) When bringing wine to a holiday gathering, don’t be hurt if it doesn’t make it to the holiday table. Your host or hostess most likely has all the wines for the evening already selected and possibly even decanted. If you would like to bring a special bottle to share that night, call or e-mail your host/hostess a day or so in advance and ask. They would probably greatly appreciate it just don’t throw them a curve ball the evening of when everything has been carefully planned out. You also run the risk of that special wine getting lost in the stack of hostess gifts as one friend reports, “I once brought a bottle of 1982 Bordeaux to a holiday dinner and it was never opened and I never got it back!” Better to plan ahead than risk losing a gem of a bottle. However, if you really wanted to drink a particular wine that night, go ahead and open it, just don’t leave that task to your host or hostess.
3.) Don’t expect to eat for days on the leftovers you bring home from your Host or Hostesses’ house. After slaving at the stove for a few days in a row to create a Thanksgiving or other holiday feast, leftovers are in many ways the “Chef’s reward.” While it’s always nice to send guests home with a little something, and its always flattering to be asked, don’t expect to be making turkey sandwiches for the better part of the following week from those leftovers. “I once had guests show up at my house for Thanksgiving with their own ‘super-sized’ to-go containers,” says one hostess. “They also brought a case of beer and took home the bottles they didn’t drink rather than leaving them as a show of thanks. I was appalled!” So no matter how delicious the meal was, practice a little restraint in your expectations when it comes to the leftovers.
4.) Always bring a little something for your Host or Hostess. If you’ve ever undertaken the arduous task of preparing a traditional holiday meal, you know the Herculean effort that is often involved. Sure your hostess might play it off like she rolled out of bed at noon and just “threw something together” but let me assure you, that is probably not the case. Aside from the food, the house also needs to look great, the table needs to be set and all family members need to look presentable before guests start to arrive. For those who have never assumed this task trust me, your Host and/or Hostess deserves some serious props! Something as simple as a small flower arrangement (never flowers that need to be arranged!); a bottle of wine or Champagne; or even a gift certificate for a manicure at a local spa all make very thoughtful gifts and you’re sure to get invited back.
5.) Don’t drink too much. It’s very easy to get caught up in all the holiday cheer and we’ve all probably been there once (ok, maybe twice). But please don’t make the mistake of overindulging to the point your Host or Hostess needs to worry about you getting home safely. Don’t get me wrong, tis the season to enjoy each other’s company as well as a few drinks or glasses of wine, however you want to avoid a “Drunk Uncle” type of situation if you can (see video). In order to avoid these episodes, have a talk with said family member before the big day and express how you feel about their behavior. Maybe even assign another family member to keep tabs on them and make sure they get home safely.
I hope these tips help to make your holiday season more cheerful and big thanks to all the Hostesses willing to share their advice. Are there any “pet peeves” you’d like to share? Please do so in the comment section below and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is less than a week away – do you have your turkey recipe and wine pairings all picked out? If not, never fear! The Glamorous Gourmet is here to help you out of your culinary quandary. First, let’s talk wine:
Trying to find a wine to pair with such an extensive and diverse group of flavors can cause a common vinous affliction known as WPP aka Wine Pairing Paralysis. With the cacophony of flavors and textures involved in a meal designed to stuff you until bursting, what wine could possibly (1) complement the meal, (2) appeal to a variety of palates and (3) not break the bank? Here are a few tips and recommendations to help make the process a little easier for Thanksgiving or any other holiday meal:
#1 When presented with dishes such as roasted turkey, caramelized onion and cornbread stuffing, cranberry compote, sweet potato casserole and Brussels sprouts at the same meal, the best wines to select (and guests too I might add) are those that “play nicely with others.” Choose wines that are fruit-forward with a food-friendly acidity that will not only stimulate your taste buds but “do no harm” to your already flavor filled meal. Hold off on tannic Cabernet Sauvignons or heavily oaked Chardonnays and opt instead for wines that are lighter in style like the 2012 Hahn Pinot Gris from Monterey, California ($14) or for reds, the Art + Farm’s The Messenger Red Wine Number One, NV ($16), also from California.
#2 The same principles apply when trying to satisfy a variety of palates at your holiday gathering. Avoiding wines with harsh tannins and heavy oak influence is usually a good game plan. Select a fruity, approachable Alsatian white wine or crisp, sparkling wine like Prosecco to appease your guests. While universally appealing, these wines will also complement the flavors in your meal beautifully. Try the Helfrich Gewürztraminer, Alsace, France, 2011 ($14) or the BiancaVigna Prosecco DOC, Veneto, Italy, NV ($15). For a red, try the elegant Copain “Les Voisins” Pinot Noir, 2010 ($42) from California’s Anderson Valley.
#3 We all know holidays like Thanksgiving can involve feeding a small army of family and friends; however, finding an appropriate wine to serve doesn’t have to break the bank. Choose wines from regions known for producing great values at reasonable prices and save your Classified Growth Bordeaux and California cult collectibles for another occasion! Stock up on your favorite value wines and have them on hand when guests drop by for some “holiday cheer.” Great examples include this duo from Domaine de Triennes, the Sainte Fleur Viognier, 2011 ($16) or for red, the St. Auguste, 2008 ($22) a blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot fermented in 2-6 year old barrels from Domaine Dujac in Burgundy.
Also, if you’re still not sure which turkey recipe to try, I’m happy to share two of my all time favorites that are sure to please a crowd. The first is a classic recipe from Chef Tyler Florence for Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter. The sage butter is slathered over the bird and under the skin and makes this turkey the most beautiful shade of mahogany you have ever seen! Have your camera ready because you will be snapping photos right and left. After years of going through all the trouble of brining my bird, I made this recipe one year and was hooked. In addition to creating beautiful color, the copious amount of butter also keeps the bird from drying out so brining was no longer necessary. You can also still make gravy from the drippings, see below for a wonderful gravy recipe. If you do make this turkey recipe you must also make the Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing that pairs with it. It is mouth wateringly delicious and I highly recommend cooking the stuffing in the bird, there is just no substitute. In case all the delicious stuffing doesn’t fit, be sure to have a buttered casserole dish on hand to bake the excess.
If you’re looking for a bird that’s a little different from the classic preparation, The Barefoot Contessa’s Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter is simply out of this world! The white truffle butter enhances the flavor of the turkey so beautifully yet the bird never seems overly “truffled.” My husband Steve is not the biggest truffle fan and yet he loved this recipe. If you choose to make this turkey you also have to make the best gravy I’ve ever tasted, which is also an Ina Garten recipe. Her delicious Homemade Gravy includes Cognac in addition to white wine, heavy cream and the drippings from the bird which synergize to create pure deliciousness. This gravy also works well with the aforementioned Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter.
I hope you enjoy these Thanksgiving wine pairing suggestions and recipes! All the wines mentioned in this post are available at The Wine Atelier and we’d be happy to consult with you on your Thanksgiving menu as well. You can always text or call 561.317.6663 with your food and/or wine pairing questions. Steve and I would also like to wish you a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.