Your Thanksgiving Headquarters
Stew Leonard’s has been a top Thanksgiving shopping destination for 50 years. In the week leading up to Thanksgiving Day, the farm fresh food grocer will sell more than 70,000 Thanksgiving turkeys to our customers, which is more than 700 times the number of turkeys sold during an average week. Our chefs and bakers will also make enough gravy to fill up an entire swimming pool – which is about 20,000 quarts of gravy – enough pies to go the length of 97 football fields (45,000!), mash 10,000 pounds of potatoes, and bake a quarter-million dinner rolls. Our chefs are also kept busy fulfilling more than 4,000 catering orders! Stew Leonard’s is open on Thanksgiving Day so if you have a Turkey Emergency, we can help. From a broken oven to a turkey that’s been nibbled on by Fido or Fluffy, our chefs and staff are here to help.
Stew Leonard’s Taste of ThanksgivingSaturday, November 16
Sunday, November 17
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Join Stew Leonard’s chefs for a complimentary Taste of Thanksgiving! A cornucopia of sampling stations will be set up at each store, offering customers fresh ideas for their holiday entertaining menus and giving them an opportunity to taste Stew Leonard’s most popular Thanksgiving dishes, including:
How to Easily Carve a Turkey with Stew
Our 5 Most Asked Turkey QuestionsEvery year, our customers ask Stew’s chefs the same five questions about the best way to choose, prepare, and cook their holiday turkey. Stew Leonard Jr. shares his top turkey tips that he’s picked up over the course of his lifetime in the grocery business:
1. What size turkey should I buy and how far in advance can I buy it?
Stew Leonard’s offers a range of sizes to meet everyone’s needs! Our turkeys weigh in anywhere between 12 lbs. to…get ready for this…28 lbs.! Now that’s a big bird! But I think that having leftovers is just as important as the big meal itself, so I always make sure that we have a bird that allows for 2 lbs. per person. If you’re not a fan of leftovers though, I think that 1.5 lbs. per person is just fine. Our fresh turkeys can be purchased 10 days in advance, giving you more time to prepare for the big day!
2. What’s the difference between the different turkeys you sell?
Our fresh turkeys are from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and have no artificial ingredients added to them. My family always gets our all natural free range Naked Turkey to put on the table- these turkeys are fed a 100% vegetarian diet and are NEVER given antibiotics or added hormones. We like cooking this bird because it has 20% more breast meat and 55% less fat than regular turkeys! You can’t buy a better turkey! We also have kosher as well as Organic turkeys.
3. How should I store my turkey prior to cooking?
Once you have your turkey home, it should be stored in the coldest part of your refrigerator, which is the bottom back corner. Keep it wrapped in the plastic until just ready to begin preparing. Our chefs also recommend putting the raw turkey on a plate or in a pan just to make sure no juices accidentally drip inside the refrigerator.
4. How do I prep my oven and turkey before cooking?
I always follow a few simple guidelines to make sure our turkey is cooked to perfection. Prior to the big day I make sure the oven is clean as this helps concentrate the heat. Second, I make sure the oven is fully preheated- I generally turn the oven on when I take the bird out of the refrigerator to begin preparing it. That way, a bit of the chill is gone from the turkey giving it the opportunity to cook at a more even pace. Lastly, I always make sure that when I insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, the temperature reads 180 degrees F. Oven temperatures vary, so I always start checking my bird 45 minutes before I think it might be done just in case we can start eating earlier!
5. Does your family stuff the turkey before roasting? I’ve heard it’s not safe but everyone seems to be doing it!
We like to use our chef’s Turkey Marinade inside of our bird- it gives the meat a wonderful flavor and the aroma is incredible! If your family really prefers to stuff your turkey, just be sure to place fully cooked stuffing in the turkey right before roasting, never the night before (this could grow bacteria), and make sure the stuffing is 165 degrees F before removing from the oven. Keep in mind that when you stuff the bird the cook time increases slightly, up to 5 extra minutes per pound of turkey.
MRS. LEONARD’S PERFECT TURKEY
As the wife of store founder Stew Leonard Sr., Marianne Leonard’s turkey has been the centerpiece of the Leonard family’s Thanksgiving celebrations for two generations. Here, she updates her classic recipe with the addition of Stew Leonard’s aromatics and by using a Stew's Naked turkey, free of antibiotics and added hormones.
• 12-14 pound Stew Leonard’s Naked turkey, rinsed and blotted dry
• 1 16 oz. container of Stew Leonard’s Aromatics
• 10-12 sage leaves
• Salt & Pepper to taste
• ½ Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Mix Stew Leonard’s Aromatics (onions, celery, oranges, apples, garlic cloves) with the bay leaves. Season the mixture with salt & pepper.
• Stuff the aromatics mixture into turkey cavity.
• Rub the outside of turkey with extra virgin olive oil and then season it with salt & pepper.
• Cover turkey with a double layer of tin foil, tucked into the sides of the roasting pan.
• Cook turkey under foil in a 400 degrees F oven for 45 minutes then drop the temperature to 300 degrees F for about 2 hours, give or take.
• Remember: all turkeys will cook differently! Be sure to insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh and cook until the temperature reads 180 degrees.
• To carve, head on over to Stew Leonard’s website for step-by-step directions!
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