Stew's Top 10 Thanksgiving Questions
Watch Chef Chaz preparing a holiday roast turkey
With years of Thanksgiving meal preparation under their toques, Stew Leonard's chefs have received every question imaginable when it comes to turkey day entertaining. Executive Chef Chaz Fable shares answers to the top ten questions Stew Leonard's receives from customers during the holiday season. If roasting the perfect turkey is your focus, watch Chef Chaz's demonstration in this webcast.
Question 1: How long should I cook my turkey?
The rule of thumb is approximately 15 minutes/lb of turkey or when an internal temperature of 165-175° is reached (place a thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey, usually were the thigh meets the breast.) Estimated cooking times are:
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Question 2: How many pounds of turkey do I need to feed my family?
We recommend 1 ½ pounds of meat/person or 2 pounds meat and bones/per person. (A 20 lb. bird will feed 10 people with some leftovers)
Question 3: When should I buy my Thanksgiving turkey?
The Sunday or Monday prior to Thanksgiving day. Place fresh turkey in a roasting pan and store in the refrigerator, on the bottom shelf in the back. A fresh turkey will keep 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
Question 4: How much gravy do I need for my turkey?
One quart for a medium turkey; two quarts for a large. However, don't forget to order a little extra for the mashed potatoes!
Question 5: Should I cook the turkey with the stuffing in the cavity?
We don't recommend it, for both food safety and quality reasons. The stuffing takes heat away from cooking the turkey, making it less likely that the turkey will be cooked to a safe temperature. In addition, by the time the inside is cooked to the proper temperature, the outside meat will be dry.
Question 6: What potato do I use for baking vs. mashing?
Yukon gold is best for mashing, as it is lighter, fluffier and more moist. Burbank russet (Idaho) is a drier potato and better for baking.
Question 7: What should I serve on an appetizer cheese board?
Provide a spread of 5-6 cheeses that range from soft to hard and creamy to sharp. An example of a good spread: brie; boursin spread; cheddar; gouda; blue cheese. Remember to serve cheese at room temperature to capture its full flavor.
Question 8: What is the best apple for making pie?
Cortlands are considered the best for pies. However, sometimes they aren't available at Thanksgiving. Granny Smith mixed with Golden Delicious or Gala also makes a great pie.
Question 9: What is the difference between a green been and a French bean (haricot verts)?
The French bean is a special variety that is younger and more tender than a traditional green bean.
Question 10: What wine do I serve at Thanksgiving?
Pairing wine with turkey is easy to do. Finding wines that complement the vast array of side dishes is the hard part. They key is serving food-friendly wines –those that complement many foods. Stew Leonard's chefs recommend the following guidelines:
- If offering wines by the course, serve Champagne or sparkling wine to complement hors d'oeuvres
- Pinot Noir and Zinfandel are best bets for reds
- Riesling is a great food-friendly white
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