25 Thanksgiving Dinner Tips from Valley Chefs
Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanksgiving, pretty much everyone's favorite holiday, is just around the corner. And if you're looking for ways to kick this one up a notch, you're not alone.
I asked Valley chefs, restaurateurs, and wine gurus for their ideas on how to re-invent this year's celebration and received tasty turkey and cooking tips, twists on traditional dishes and wine pairings, and even a recipe.
See which ones might work best on your table.
Since the breast and the legs cook differently, separate them. Roast the turkey breast in the oven and confit the legs the night before. Gently warm prior to serving.
Rather than serving canned cranberries, pureed frozen cranberries, or hot cranberry sauce, cook fresh cranberries with dried cherries, citrus zest, sugar, and ruby port. Let it steep until the cranberries just start to break. Cranberries have a lot of natural pectin, so it thickens naturally. I like to serve this room temperature -- the consistency is beautiful.
Start the day with bubbles. If you're the cook, open a bottle with or without the orange juice. If you're the host, greet your guests with a glass of bubbles as they arrive. I recommend the Varichon & Clerc Blanc de Blancs.
Pour a light white wine and change up the flavors with a Gewurtraminer. It pairs fantastically with turkey and all the trimmings. The flavors and aromas are light and elegant with a hint of acidity. Not all Gewurztraminer are sweet. I recommend the Pacific Rim as an affordable, sweet Gewurztraminer or the Tramin from Italy for a little more expensive and drier version.
End with a great dessert wine. A dessert wine at the end completes the meal and surprises your guests. Some great options to explore are Madeira, Port, and, of course, Moscato d'Asti.