Farm Fresh Menus for a Stress-Free Holiday
NORWALK, CONN., November 8, 2021 – With supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and even bad weather all impacting food retailers, Stew Leonard’s president and CEO Stew Leonard Jr. has one message for his farm-fresh food customers this Thanksgiving: don’t panic!
“In my more than fifty years in the food business, I’ve never seen anything like this,” notes Leonard. “But Stew Leonard’s works directly with turkey suppliers, farmers, and fishermen to make sure that our shelves are always full. You can buy your fresh Thanksgiving turkey up to 10 days in advance at Stew Leonard’s, so my advice to our customers this holiday is to shop early to make sure they get everything they need for their Thanksgiving celebration.”
OUR CHEFS MAKE IT EASY
Stew Leonard’s catering team will again offer their popular “Dinner for 8” and “Dinner for 4” Thanksgiving meals this holiday. However, they’ve also streamlined the ordering process even more with a “Stew’s Choice Dinner for 8” with pre-set menu options featuring everyone’s favorite holiday classics. Stew’s Choice features a marinated medium turkey that’s been stuffed with aromatics before it is slow-roasted until it is golden and delicious. Side dishes include Country Style Stuffing, freshly whipped Idaho Mashed Potatoes, and tender Green Beans Almondine. The dinner also comes with turkey gravy, cranberry-orange sauce, and rolls and pies fresh from Bethy’s Bakery.
For complete Thanksgiving menus, visit stewscatering.com to place an order up through Sunday, November 21, 2021.
If You Only Cook a Turkey Once a Year…
Every year, our customers ask Stew’s chefs the same five questions about the best way to choose, prepare, and cook their holiday turkey. Afterall, most home cooks will only roast turkey once a year at Thanksgiving! Stew Leonard Jr. shares his top turkey tips that he’s picked up over the course of his lifetime in the grocery business:
Q. What size turkey should I buy and how far in advance can I buy it?
A. Stew Leonard’s offers a range of sizes to meet everyone’s needs! Our turkeys weigh in anywhere between 12lbs to 28lbs! 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 2lbs. of turkey meat 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!
Q. What’s the difference between the different turkeys you sell?
A. 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 from the Lehigh Valley 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 50% more white meat and 55% less fat than regular turkeys! You can’t buy a better turkey! We also have kosher as well as Organic turkeys.
Q. How should I store my turkey prior to cooking?
A. 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 accidently drip inside the refrigerator.
Q. How do I prep my oven and turkey before cooking?
A. First, I always 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. You will want to cook the turkey for 15-20 minutes per pound at 350°F. For a plump and juicy bird, layer our Stew Leonard’s aromatics in the bottom of your roasting pan and place the bird on top. Once the skin is brown, tent the turkey with a piece of parchment paper and then a piece of foil on top. The parchment will prevent the foil from sticking to the skin. You’ll want to cook the bird until a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh joint reaches 165°F. Pop up timers will go off once the breast reaches 165°F, but our chefs tell me to test the thickest part of the thigh to make sure the turkey is cooked through! Take the bird out of the oven to rest, still tented under the foil, for about 15-20 minutes before carving.
Q. Does your family stuff the turkey before roasting? I’ve heard it’s not safe, but everyone seems to be doing it!
A. We like to use our chef’s turkey aromatics 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 at least 165°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.
Stew Leonard’s Roasted Turkey Breast with Rosemary Salt
If you’re not expecting a crowd for this year’s holiday, or if you’re feeding mostly white meat lovers, Stew’s chefs’ roasted turkey breast with rosemary salt is a moist, fragrant addition to your dinner table. This recipe will make about 1½ cups of rosemary salt, so don’t be afraid to store the leftover salt mixture in the refrigerator. It’ll stay fresh for about a month and goes great on grilled meat, roasted vegetables, and more.
1 cup kosher salt
Zest of 1 whole lemon
8 cloves garlic, halved
12 full sprigs of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
6 full sprigs of fresh sage, roughly chopped
3-4 lb. split turkey breast (with skin on)
2 oz. Stew Leonard’s Italian Olive Oil
2 oz. of Rosemary Salt
Stew Leonard’s Turkey Aromatics
Preheat oven to 325°F.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the salt, lemon zest, garlic, rosemary, and sage, and pulse for 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse again for 5 seconds.
Rinse the turkey breast with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Rub the interior and exterior of the turkey breast with the olive oil and rosemary salt.
Place the Stew Leonard’s Turkey Aromatics into the bottom of a roasting pan then place the turkey in the pan, breast side up, bone side down.
Roast for about 40 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165°F.
Tent the turkey with foil and let rest for about 8-10 minutes before carving and serving.
About Stew Leonard’s
Stew Leonard’s, a family-owned and operated fresh food store founded in 1969, has stores in Norwalk, Danbury, and Newington, Conn.; in East Meadow, Farmingdale and Yonkers, N.Y.; and in Paramus, N.J. Stew’s earned its nickname, the “Disneyland of Dairy Stores” because of its country-fair atmosphere, with costumed characters and animated entertainment throughout the store that keep children entertained while parents shop. Stew Leonard’s legion of loyal shoppers is largely due to the stores’ passionate approach to customer service: “Rule #1 — The Customer is Always Right”; Rule #2 – If the Customer is Ever Wrong, Re-Read Rule #1.” This principle is so essential to the foundation of the company that it is etched in a three-ton granite rock at each store’s entrance. The company’s culture is built around an acronym for S.T.E.W.: Satisfy the customer; Teamwork gets it done; Excellence makes it better; WOW makes it fun. For more information, visit Stew Leonard’s website at www.stewleonards.com.