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updated 11/21/2008 4:11:38 PM ET 2008-11-21T21:11:38

Recipe: Roasted turkey with gravy

  • Turkey
  • 1 whole fresh turkey (12-14 lb) broken into 2 x leg-thigh pieces, 2 x wings, 2 x boneless half-breasts (with a flat horizontal cut made 3/4 into the breast so it can be opened up like a book. See notes in recipe below for exact directions on making the cut)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Gravy
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 quart of chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Set a large roasting pan over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Season leg-thigh and wing pieces well with salt and pepper and place in hot pan skin side down. Brown well while you prepare the breasts. Once breasts are stuffed and tied (see recipe below), turn the leg-thigh and wing pieces over, then nestle in the breast pieces and brown on one side for 2-3 minutes before flipping over, then place the whole roasting pan in the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes.

Once cooked, remove the breasts and leg-thigh pieces to a platter and rest. Set the pan (the wings will remain in the pan) over medium heat and add about 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Stir with a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan, then add the chopped onion, carrots and celery. Stir well and season. Saute until vegetables are caramelized — about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in flour to make a roux and stir well to combine; make sure the flour is mixed well with the oil so you don't have any lumps in the final gravy. Once roux is nice and brown, pour in chicken stock and stir with a whisk and simmer until gravy is thickened and reduced slightly — about 12-15 minutes. Season, strain through a sieve and serve.

Recipe: Oven-roasted turkey breast with leek and cornbread stuffing

  • 4 whole leeks, roots trimmed
  • Leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 4 large cornbread muffins, broken apart into large crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large boneless half turkey breasts

Trim off most of the dark-green parts of the leeks, leaving the white and just an inch or two of the light-green part. Cut into circles and soak in a large bowl of water to remove dirt. Drain and pat dry with paper towel to ensure all the dirt is removed.

Heat 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the leeks, sprinkle with the thyme, salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes, turning every now and then, until the leeks are softened but not colored. In a small bowl combine chicken stock, cream and egg and whisk to combine. In a large mixing bowl crumble in cornbread muffins, then add leeks, chicken stock, a splash of cream and egg. Season well with salt and pepper, then stir to combine well.

Using a sharp, thin knife, cut the breast parallel to the board, almost in half, just stopping short of the outside edge. Open out the 2 halves as if you were opening a book. Now you've got a large piece of meat that will cook evenly and is thin enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sprinkle the cut surface of the turkey with salt and pepper and spoon stuffing on top. Smear evenly on top with a rubber spatula. Now, starting with the left side, roll the turkey over the filling and into a cylinder. Tie in 4 places with kitchen twine. Season with salt and pepper. (You can bake remaining stuffing in a gratin dish to serve as dressing.)

Put the turkey in the roasting pan (with the leg-thigh pieces and wings; see above recipe) and sear all over. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for about 25-30 minutes (internal temperature should reach 160 degrees F). Continue as outlined in above recipe to make gravy with pan drippings.

Serving Size

Serves 6 to 8

Recipe: Balsamic braised brussels sprouts with crispy croutons

  • 4 slices of white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pints brussels sprouts, thinly sliced or shaved on a mandolin
  • 2 medium shallots, diced
  • 1 head of garlic, smashed
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pint of low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Begin by making the croutons. Set a large saute pan over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss in croutons and toss to coat evenly with oil. Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until crispy and golden brown. Season with salt and set aside.

In the same pan add another 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add garlic, thyme and shallots. Saute gently until translucent, then add shaved brussels sprouts. Season with salt and pepper, then add chicken stock and balsamic vinegar. Reduce heat, cover slightly and simmer for 15 minutes until brussels sprouts are well cooked. Remove heat and reduce liquid for 2-3 minutes before folding in flat-leaf parsley. Serve topped with crispy croutons.

Serving Size

Serves 4-6

Recipe: Velvety mashed potatoes

  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 pint whole milk
  • 6 large russet potatoes
  • 1 head of garlic, split through the equator
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan with milk and cream; depending on your pot, add extra milk if required to cover the potatoes. Add garlic, bay leaf and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for to 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are very tender.

Drain the potatoes, then remove skins carefully (they should fall off when rubbed between your fingers). Pass the potatoes through a food mill or a ricer back into the same pot you cooked them in. Stir in enough of the warm cream and milk mixture until the cream is absorbed and the potato mixture is silky-smooth.

Season the potatoes with salt and pepper and finish them off by stirring in the butter.

Serving Size

Serves 6-8

Recipe: Roasted sweet potatoes with chorizo, orange and sage

  • 2 links chorizo, casing removed and roughly chopped
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 stems fresh sage
  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Begin by setting a large saute pan over low heat. Add about 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and add sage leaves. Cook until crispy, then drain and set aside. Add chorizo to the pan with the oil and brown for 4-5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Add cubed sweet potatoes to the pan and toss to coat evenly. Brown for 2-3 minutes and season with salt and pepper, then place the whole pan in the preheated oven. Cook for 25-30 minutes until tender, then remove from oven and shower with fresh orange zest. Stir to coat well, then sprinkle with cooked chorizo and garnish with crispy fried sage.

Serving Size

Serves 4-6

Recipe: Cranberry sauce

  • 1 bag (12 oz) fresh cranberries
  • 2 heaped tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 strips of orange zest
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and set over low-medium heat.

Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes until the liquid is syrupy and cranberries are tender.

Serving Size

Serves 4-6

Recipe: Ultimate pumpkin pie

  • Crust
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 5 teaspoons sugar
  • A pinch kosher salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • Filling and topping
  • 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 2.3-ounce package amaretti cookies (about 12)

Make the crust: Combine the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Mix in the cold butter with a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Work in 3 tablespoons ice water until the dough holds together without being too sticky. If it's still crumbly, add more ice water, 1 teaspoon at a time. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough into an 11- to 12-inch circle with a floured rolling pin. Ease into a 9-inch pie pan; press firmly into the bottom and sides. Trim the excess dough, then pinch the edges. Refrigerate until ready to fill.

Place a baking sheet on the bottom oven rack and preheat to 375°. Make the filling: Whisk the pumpkin in a bowl with the butter and a pinch of salt. Whisk in 3 eggs and the sugar. Stir in the cream, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour the mixture into the pie shell. Lightly beat the egg white, then brush onto the pastry edges. Carefully place the pie on the preheated baking sheet, lower the oven temperature to 325° and bake until the pie is set but still jiggles slightly, about 50 minutes. Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, toast the pecans on a baking sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes; cool. With a knife or food processor, coarsely chop the pecans, cranberries and cookies; sprinkle over the cooled pie.

Serving Size

Serves 6-8


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