Ask the Chef: Top Holiday Cooking Tips
Thanksgiving is around the corner and Chef Tracy is here to help you tackle all your Turkey Day Troubles! Lindsey Roffey sits down with Chef Tracy and gets the top Thanksgiving Day cooking tips that are sure to save you in the kitchen. Then she also shares the secret ingredients to her Thanksgiving Day stuffing recipe so don’t forget to take a peek at her family recipe for stuffing at the bottom of the story. The ingredients are quite surprising!
Tackling a Thanksgiving dinner can be tough. What is the easiest way to start?
Any Thanksgiving feast can be easy even if you are a novice in the kitchen. The best way to start is to choose a menu that you like, then make a grocery list and prepare a prep list.
A traditional Thanksgiving dinner seems to be all about the sides. How many sides dishes do you need to make the meal complete and what are they?
There isn’t a set amount of dishes. Of course there’s always stuffing, sweet potatoes, and mashed potatoes. Since this is usually a family gathering and some family members have traditional sides they like to bring like Grandma’s pumpkin pie. So, you have to be flexible. Even though I am an executive chef, I love the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. I put my own twist on the sides. I love chorizo in my stuffing made with sour dough bread or even with apple sauce!
What are some of the best tips to make a fantastic turkey?
There are so many versions like the barbequed turkey, deep fried turkey and even the Turducken! I prefer to cook it low and slow. I put herbs and butter under the skin, always making sure that there is plenty of liquid in the pan while the turkey is cooking. Much of the time, the breast will be done before the legs and thighs. To prevent dry meat, I will remove the breast and allow the rest of the bird to cook.
I am having a Turkey emergency! My turkey is in the oven, my guests are arriving any moment, and it is still frozen. What do I do?
The best thing to do before you start is to thaw your bird in the refrigerator for a few days to thaw. Try to avoid cooking a frozen bird. However, if you need to speed up the process, quarter the bird and roast it that way. Place the quarters on a bed of celery, onions, and carrots and keep liquid in the pan.
Thanksgiving dinner seems to have many flavor components. How is it possible to pick the perfect wine?
I think there should be a variety of wines as there are side dishes. Try a nice Sauvignon Blanc to go with some fresh green beans with toasted almonds. A Pinot Noir would go well with the stuffing. Chardonnay will match up with a nice crisp salad. My choice for turkey and gravy would be a to splurge on a big Napa Cabernet!
Chef Tracy’s Family Stuffing Dish
1 standard package stuffing croutons(or home made make sure you bake them so they are dry)
12 oz can of chicken broth
1 cup of diced and sautéed celery
1 cup diced and sautéed onions
2 tablespoons freshly chopped sage
1 can applesauce to taste
2 cups cooked and drained chorizo (or sausage of your choice)
1/2 cup pistachios (coarsely chopped)
Combine all ingredients and adjust any ingredients as desired. Bake in an oiled pan at 350° for approximately 1 hour.
About Chef Tracy: Executive Chef Tracy Flores has over thirty years experience in the kitchen. She currently is the executive chef at Castlewood Country Club. You can read more about Chef Tracy here.