When one thinks of Thanksgiving, they often think about the bird roasting in the oven, breast-side up, simply slathered with butter. But, if you think about it, the possibilities for cooking turkey are endless; it’s just like a chicken, but a whole lot bigger.
Just look at the recipes from some of the country’s finest chefs, below—some, like Chef Kerry Heffernan, chose deboned turkey legs, while others, like Chef Jimmy Bradley, opt to deep-fry their birds for optimal moisture. Other just choose to roast their bird upside down like Chef Lydia Shire of Locke-Ober, in Boston, “the juices run into the breast while roasting… my bird may not be that picture perfect, as I roast it in a V-shaped pan that, once you finish cooking it and turn it, [leaves] marks across its chest… but when you think about it, the lovely thigh and leg meat will be so crisp and the breast meat will be soo juicy and moist.”
Whatever the technique or recipe, take inspiration—or try the recipe—from these chefs as your ready to roast your own bird this Thanksgiving.
Pairs with: Chef Waxman likes to serve his bird with Brussels sprouts roasted with bacon and cream; baked sweet potato puree with parmesan and butter; celery root casserole with crème fraiche, gruyere cheese and butter; and an oyster stuffing with chestnuts, croutons and sage, baked in its own dish.
Pairs with: With its slightly sweet and citrus glaze, this turkey pairs well with a traditional chestnut stuffing full of fresh herbs. Serve this alongsed green beans almondine, traditional mashed potatoes, and a chunky candied orange cranberry sauce for a classic Thanksgiving meal.
Pairs with: Chef Bradley pairs his bird with two stuffings, one vegetarian, one with meat or oysters. He always serves sweet potatoes with rosemary and butter; creamed pearl onions stuffed in a big large onion; and sautéed kale. He never forgets the vegetarians, often roasting a blue Hubbard squash and carving it like a turkey—they need a “turkey,” too.
Pairs with: Chef Heffernan likes to serve his turkey roulade with a quick braise of swiss chard, sweetened with melted cipollini onions, but to round out the meal, would also add his favorite: velvety pureed wax turnips or rutabaga.
Pairs with: Following along the Italian-inspired balsamic flavors of the turkey, we’d suggest serving this turkey with a hearty sausage stuffing, roasted brussels sprouts with pancetta and apples, and a smooth winter squash puree.
Pairs well: Inspired by the abundance of herbs stuffed in and around the bird while it roasts, try pairing this turkey with a dried fruit and cornbread stuffing, braised winter greens, and a butternut squash gratin.