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Arsip Tag: onions
For 13 years, this site has not had a turkey recipe for a few, perhaps not terribly convincing, reasons. I don’t usually host; it’s usually a family member with, I’m sure just coincidentally, more than a 2-bedroom apartment of space. Second, I mean, this is the internet, right? And there are, as of this morning, 200,000 search results for “roast turkey.” Probably there’s a gem or two in there for you and you’ve got this covered? Finally, the truth: turkey has never been my favorite bird. I mean, when it’s done well, I do enjoy my yearly two slices (dark, please), but I’ve rarely been summoned with the motivation to finetune a recipe in the off-season.
But then a couple things changed. A few years ago I started hosting Friendsgivings (see here and here) and now, a few turkeys later, I — inevitably — have a lot of opinions about turkey. For example, when you’re making a turkey the size you need for the 18 to 25 people most Thanksgivings may entail, you’re going to want to find a way to treat the bird in a way that it won’t dry out in all of the hours it will take to safely cook through. I’ve wet-brined (a nightmare with delicious results, but still a nightmare) and dry-brined, and the latter was the clear winner.
My second opinion is that if you’re putting anything besides a lot of quartered onions under your turkey, you’re missing out on one of the best things we have ever eaten. I tried it after rejecting the usual medley (potatoes, carrots, or other vegetable) because they were represented more generously in other side dishes at the table. I never looked back. Over a few hours in the oven collecting buttery, salty drippings, they become otherworldly: both deeply caramelized to the point of jammy sweetness, but charred and salty too. There’s enough to go around. Since they will taste too good to share, however, I might take this time to remind myself of the key Thanksgiving themes: generosity, gratitude, hospitality, and probably not standing in the kitchen eating onions off a knifepoint? Okay, fiiine.
My third opinion is, in fact, my view on All Things Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving recipes should be rivetingly simple, the kind of short ingredient list, high reward stuff that has no mise-en-place, because all of my dishes are otherwise engaged when I’m having 21 people over. If I can make a stunning, perfectly cooked, delightfully-seasoned, crisp-skinned turkey with merely 6 ingredients and 2 steps, I’m simply not going to make the one with 15. Not today, St. Martha.
This turkey follows the rules. I took a risk the first year and kept it really basic, seasoning with only salt, and pepper, and basting with butter after brining and seasoned, juicy, and delicious. However, now I’m hedging, just slightly, on this, because I accidentally did what I thought I never would: tested a turkey recipe when the month didn’t require it.
Earlier this year, I made a slow-roasted whole chicken and ended up brushing the well-salted skin with a mixture of butter, maple syrup, and gochujang chili paste and it was astoundingly good but I had this nagging feeling it this chicken wished it was a turkey. Hear me out: turkeys are slow-roasted birds; turkeys are wonderful with a salty-spicy-sweet finish. And unlike many other hunches in my life (no we’re not going to talk about the wide-leg mom jeans today), this one was actually on-point, and we get to reap the burnished, delicious rewards.
Six months ago: Raspberry Crumble Tart Bars
One year ago: Drop Cornbread Biscuits
Two years ago: Endive Salad with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Walnuts
Three years ago: Cheesecake-Marbled Pumpkin Slab Pie
Four years ago: Apple Cider Sangria and Date, Feta, and Cabbage Salad
Five years ago: Pickled Cabbage Salad and Pretzel Parker House Rolls
Six years ago: Cranberry-Orange Breakfast Buns and Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onion
Seven years ago: Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Eight years ago: Gingersnaps
Nine years ago: Upside-Down Cranberry Cake and Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Goat Cheese
Ten years ago: Swiss Chard and Sweet Potato Gratin and Sweet Potato and Buttermilk Pie
Eleven years ago: Pepita Brittle and Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Peppers
Twelve years ago: Roasted Stuffed Onions and Simplest Apple Tart
Thirteen years ago: Chocolate Stout Cake
Dry-Brined Turkey with Roasted Onions
Read the notes at the end first, pretty please.
- 1 12- to 16-pound fresh turkey
- Kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon of a chile paste — gochujang, harissa, or chipotle — plus more to taste
- 8 to 10 medium onions, half red, half yellow, peeled and cut into quarters
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sunflower, safflower, or another high-heat friendly oil
1 to 2 hours before roasting: Remove plastic and discard any juices that have collected around the bird. Allow to come to room temperature, which will take 1 to 2 hours. No need to rinse any salt off the bird; it’s all as it should be.
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours before serving: Heat oven to 450°F with a rack on the lowest level of the oven. If you plan to stuff the turkey with anything, do so now. Truss the legs (tying them together) with kitchen twine or, uh, any other string you have around.
Toss the onions with a splash of oil (don’t worry about seasoning, they’ll collect it from the pan) and arrange around the turkey. Combine 1 tablespoon of the melted butter with the maple syrup and chili paste in a small bowl, whisking until smooth. Brush this — or use your hands to coat — all over the turkey, leaving none behind. Here you’re supposed to tuck the wings under the bird to prevent the tips from burning, something I have never successfully done, if we’re being honest. Have a big piece of foil nearby for when you will want to cover the turkey.
Roast turkey for 25 to 30 minutes, then — this is very important — reduce the oven heat to 350° and continue roasting the bird until a thermometer in thickest part of the breast reads 150 to 155.
Beginning when you reduce the heat, periodically baste the turkey with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter, and then, when you’re out of butter, with the juices from the pan.
This turkey is going to brown fairly quick and quite dark. Don’t fret, it will not taste burnt, but go ahead and put the foil on when it gets as dark as you can stand it. Rotate the pan in the oven a couple times, and turn onions in pan over once, for even cooking. Remove the foil for the last 5 to 10 minutes of roasting, so the skin crisps up again.
A 14 to 16 pound bird takes a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. A 19.5 pound bird once took over 3 hours. Keep in mind that if you’re opening and closing the oven door a bunch of times to move other dishes around, it will take longer to cook (up to 30 minutes).
Rest, carve, and serve: Allow the turkey to rest at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes before carving, which you should estimate 20 or so minutes to do, depending on your comfort level. This will allow the juices to be locked in and the turkey to carry over to an internal temperature of 165°F. Use the rest time to rewarm any sides that need it and to make gravy (see below).
I am not going to write out carving instructions because I personally cannot do it without watching a video. I pop this or this or this up on my phone (I recommend previewing them earlier and picking the one that works for you), hit the pause button a lot, and do my best. When you slice the turkey, make sure your knife is really, really sharp to get those clean cuts. Do you know what else really clean cuts do? Make people think you knew what you were doing. (I absolutely do not.)
Your turkey is going to spill a lot of juices while you carve it. [Updated with a life-changing tip from Cindy in the comments.] Place your cutting board inside a rimmed sheet pan to collect the juices as you carve. Pour some over the sliced turkey (save any left for gravy), plus a final sprinkle of salt and pepper, before serving to keep it warm and seasoned. Arrange onions all around and serve with glee. You totally rocked this; I knew you would.
- Buying turkeys: Heritage- or pasture-raised tend to taste a lot better, if you can find them. Estimate 1 to 1 1/2 pounds per person; I tend to aim to the lower range because we don’t love leftovers and there are so many sides. If your turkey is frozen, defrost 2 to 3 days before in the fridge. They say it takes about 1 day per 5 pounds of turkey. You cannot defrost it at room temperature; it’s just not safe.
- Salt: I use Diamond brand kosher salt which clocks in at 135 grams a cup which is only important to note because the weight over other brands varies significantly, especially at this quantity. Morton brand = 230 grams per cup and David’s = 288 grams. So, please use half or just about half if you’re using another brand to avoid significantly over-salting your turkey.
- Doneness: Your turkey is done when a thermometer (this remains my go-to) inserted into thickest part of the breast reads 150F to 155F, or in the thigh at 165F, however, I prefer checking the breast. Thighs are smaller and often hit the “done” temperature sooner but are more forgiving of a few extra degrees. Nobody is forgiving of undercooked turkey breast.
- Logistics: Here’s a logistical tip I don’t think enough recipes make clear: You want to rest your turkey for 20 to 30 minutes before carving it, tented lightly with foil. It’s then going to take 15 to 20 minutes to carve (I had a friend holding a YouTube video tutorial in front of me because I’m very bad at it.) This gives you 30 to 45 minutes of empty oven time where you can reheat sides, which is more than most need. I have a single, not big, not great oven and this is how I manage to make it work.
- Extra ingredients: This is — and I know this is very bizarre to many people — and herb- and garlic-free turkey. If you’d like, you can toss 1 lemon and 1 head of garlic, each sliced in half crosswise, and a fistful of thyme, rosemary, and/or sage inside the turkey. I’ve made this turkey with none of these things and I’ve made this turkey with all of these things and I want you to know that it’s excellent both ways. The fragrance of the turkey is more dynamic with the lemon and garlic, but it doesn’t make a large difference, in my opinion, in the final flavor of the slices, so proceed as you wish.
- Cookware: I’m using this roasting pan.
Now, let’s talk about gravy. This is my core gravy recipe:
Very Simple Gravy
8 cups turkey or chicken stock (I either use homemade chicken or Better Than Bouillon’s turkey base)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons dry marsala or cider vinegar
Melt butter in
Despite my deep affection for cheese, to the point that one of my favorite things to do on a New York City weekend is to dip into Murray’s and treat us to something crumbly or aged or rich and runny, I don’t love cheese plates. It feels really good to get this off my chest. At first, it was just a budget issue; I still feel the sticker shock from the first time I tried to put together one of those cute boards with five or six different wedges on them, plus the crackers, breads, pickles, dried fruit, toasted almonds, olives, cured meats, and all of the other minimum requirements of our latter-day horns of plenty. But I was also put off by the waste. Even though so much went unfinished, the leftovers were unsalvageable, as fingers, forks, knives, and crumbs got into everything (a particularly shuddering thought in the age of Covid). Instead, when people come over, or what I remember of it, I prefer to focus on one or two decadent, attention-grabbing things and nothing grabs attention on a cold winter day like warm, runny cheese.
NEW: Watch me make this baked brie on YouTube!
Baked brie was all the entertaining rage in the 1970s and 80s. Nothing was more glamorous but accessible, an imported cheese that everyone knew and could pronounce. But as Americans got more sophisticated about imported cheese — manchego! Humboldt Fog! — in a crushing fall from grace, brie became the opposite of chic. And this is where my interest piqued — dated and unhip, you say? Where can I sign up?
Thus, this is baked brie, my way. First, I use my easy galette dough for a flaky pastry that tastes a million times better than most frozen puffed pastry and requires no extra grocery store trip. I’ve never been a fan of the sweet compotes and fruity jams usually paired with brie, but I love a thin layer sweet-sour jammy red onions under and over the cheese — here, softened in butter, then wilted down further with salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar. A paper-thin slick of smooth Dijon mustard offsets the sweetness, a sprinkling of thyme gives it an herbal element, a scattering of sesame seeds on top adds a little extra crackle, or you can skip all three and it’s still delicious. Brie — and yes, even commercial, grocery store brie works well here — is attainably-priced and even the basic stuff warms up beautifully, so no need to splurge here. Plus, it often comes in 8-ounce rounds, absolutely perfect for our tiny, at-home New Years celebrations this week to send 2020 packing.
The Year In Smitten Kitchen
I love looking up which recipes you cooked the most each year, and could anything be more apt for 2020 than an Ultimate Banana Bread? In a year with so much none of us liked, a bright spot for me was the way the simplicity of our Covid pantries nudged me towards simpler, core recipes in previous years I foolishly dismissed as not interesting enough. You know what’s interesting? Crispy crumbled potatoes, schmaltzy roast chicken, and what I hope will be the last classic vegetable lasagna you’ll ever need. And speaking of pantries, I wrote about how I “organize” (spoiler: it’s not) my SK pantry over here and while not a recipe, it was one of the most-read posts this year. You can view all top 16 recipes from this page or individually below.
Previously: Best of 2019, Best of 2018 (Savory, Sweet), Best of 2017 (Savory, Sweet), Best of 2016 (Savory, Sweet).
Happy New Year, friends. Thank you for spending some of your time with me.
6 months ago: Dulce de Leche Chocoflan
1 year ago: Banana Toffee Cake
2 year ago: Baklava Babka
3 years ago: Dutch Apple Pie
4 years ago: Homemade Irish Cream
5 years ago: Eggnog Waffles
6 years ago: Jelly Doughnuts and Endives with Orange and Almonds
7 years ago: Linzer Torte and Breakfast Slab Pie
8 years ago: Cashew Butter Balls
9 years ago: Peppermint Hot Fudge Sauce
10 years ago: Iced Oatmeal Cookies and Broiled Mussels
11 years ago: Vanilla Roasted Pears and Creamed Mushrooms on Chive-Butter Toast
12 years ago: Cranberry-Vanilla Coffee Cake and Seven-Layer Cookies
13 years ago: Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies and Peanut Butter Cookies
14 years ago: Boozy Baked French Toast and Parmesan Black Pepper Biscotti
Merely three weeks ago, I lamented the mediocrity and afterthought-ness of most meatless entrees, so often cobbled together from sides of other dishes. Because I love a plot twist, it seems only right that this week I tell you about my favorite salad which happens to be — you guessed it — cobbled from the sides of other dishes. I used to order it from a taco place in our neighborhood before they changed the recipe, and even though I knew it was just the most filler-y lettuce, the pickled onions, sliced radishes, pepitas, and crumbled cotija they’d use to garnish their other offerings, masquerading as a salad, I did not care. Sometimes it works. Here, it sings. It’s absolutely perfect: crunchy, bright, creamy, and inhalable.
At home, I definitely zhuzh it more (a word I just learned, to my delight, how to spell) — I like to warm the pepitas in oil until they get more crisp and fragrant. I add avocado, which I also did at home when we’d order it. Sometimes I get cute and cut the iceberg lettuce into little wedges. I measure the toppings with my heart, but there are measurements below that will also work. I don’t know about you, but I could, and might try, to eat this once a week forever.
Want to buy a signed cookbook as a gift for yourself or someone else? In advance of Mother’s Day, you will be able to order signed cookbook(s) from two different beloved NYC bookstores that ship nationwide. Details:
* Books Are Magic: Order signed and personalized [i.e. “To [name]” and/or “Happy Mother’s Day!” or “Happy Mother’s Day, [name!”] copies of any of my three cookbooks. You can have these shipped to you or can pick them up at one of the two store locations in Brooklyn. Ordering deadline: 4/22.
* Strand Bookstore: Order a signed copy [no personalizing this round] Iof my most recent cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Keepers. You can have it shipped to you or can pick it up at their store near Union Square. While the ordering deadline is Mother’s Day (5/14), if you’d like it to arrive somewhere by Mother’s Day, The Strand recommends that you order by 4/26.
Events: While book tour events have otherwise slowed down, I will be in New Jersey at the Montclair Literary Festival on Saturday, May 6th.
6 months ago: Focaccia Onion Board and Apple and Cheddar Crisp Salad
2 year ago: Winter Squash and Spinach Pasta Bake
3 years ago: Skillet Turkey Chili
4 year ago: Chicken Curry
5 years ago: Even More Perfect Apple Pie
6 years ago: Quick Pasta and Chickpeas and Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
7 years ago: Garlic Wine and Butter Steamed Clams, Baked Alaska, Indian-Spiced Cauliflower Soup and Skillet-Baked Pasta with Five Cheeses
8 years ago: My Old-School Baked Ziti and Cannoli Pound Cake
9 years ago: Better Chicken Pot Pies and Better Chocolate Babka
10 years ago: Miso Sweet Potato and Broccoli Bowl and Purple Plum Torte
11 years ago: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
12 years ago: Apple Pie Cookies
13 years ago: Mushroom Lasagna
14 years ago: Quiche Lorraine and Breakfast Apple Granola Crisp
15 years ago: Majestic and Moist Honey Cake, Best Challah (Egg Bread), and Mom’s Apple Cake
16 years ago: Peter Reinhart’s Bagels and Peanut Butter Brownies
17 years ago: Lemon Cake
Note: I’ve bumped up the amount of broth based on comments from people who found their rice undercooked.
Heat a large sauté pan, preferably one with a lid, over medium-high heat for one minute. Once the pan is very hot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter, and heat them together for another full minute. Arrange chicken skin side down and cook until deeply brown underneath, about 4 to 5 minutes. [Don’t crowd the chicken; depending on the size of your pan, you might need to do this in two batches.] While it browns, season what is now the top side with additional salt and pepper. Once browned, flip the pieces over and brown on the second side, about another 3 to 4 minutes. Don’t skimp on the color, please. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Prepare the buttered onions: Leave the pan on medium-high and add 2 tablespoons butter to fat and juices in it. Once melted, add the onions and season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook the onions for about 15 minutes total, or until golden throughout and darker brown at the edges, stirring every couple minutes. In the beginning, the onions are watery; once the water has cooked off and the onions begin to pick up color, I reduce the heat to medium for the remaining time. Carefully taste and season with more salt, if desired, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Remove 1/3 cup of onions and set aside until the end.
Finish the chicken and rice: Add thyme and dried rice and cook with the onions for 1 minute. Add the wine, if using, and cook until it disappears, about 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the pan sides, pushing any dried rice and onions back to the bottom. Return the chicken thighs to the pan skin side up, spacing them out. Carefully pour 2 cups (updated amount) of the broth around chicken. Bring the pan to a simmer then reduce to the lowest simmer and cover. Cook rice and chicken together for 25 minutes, or until rice is tender. If rice is not tender at 25 minutes, add remaining 1/4 cup broth and return to the heat for another 5 to 10 minute4s.
To finish and serve: Off heat, rest the dish for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Scatter with reserved buttered onions and scoop it onto plates.
Do ahead: This keeps so well. I reheat it covered in an oven-safe dish at 350 degrees for 15 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is warm. To freeze, well, I’m just going to say it: I’ll pack it ingloriously in a freezer bag and press out the extra air. Defrost in the fridge for a day, if you have time, then rewarm as written above.
- Can I use different bone-in, skin-on chicken parts? Yes. Larger chicken breasts can take longer to cook. Look for ones on the smaller side (8 ounces). If they’re larger, I’ll sometimes split them in half so that they cook through by the time the rice is done.
- Can I use boneless, skinless chicken cutlets? Yes. I’d use thighs since they’re less likely to dry out, and even though it won’t be as pretty, I’d probably skip browning them so they don’t overcook by the time the rice is done.
- What can I use instead of wine? I’d use 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sugar.
- Can I make chicken rice with buttered onions without butter? Yes, olive oil or another fat will work fine, but of course a key part of the flavor will be different.
- How do I make this even more buttery? When the chicken and rice are done but haven’t rested yet, dot the dish with 1 to 2 additional tablespoons butter, cut into small bits, then replace the lid and let it rest for the 5 to 10 minutes suggested.
- A better than bouillon concentrate hack: The best chicken broth is homemade. My second favorite comes from Better Than Bouillon. The jar instructions are to add 1 teaspoon per 1 cup of hot water before using it but I am lazy and add the concentrate directly to aromatics in the pan — here, along with the thyme and dried rice — and cook it in for a minute to distribute the blob of concentrate. Then I add measured water when the recipe calls for broth.
- Note: The thyme inside the dish is for flavor; the thyme on top is for aesthetics on a very brown dish.