BY LOIS DESOCIO
I am still a party girl – giver and goer. I’ve been hosting holiday dinners for decades. Whether it be a party of 50, or a gathering of five, my step-one has been to pick a magazine, a newspaper section, or even the first four pages of my ring binder with all my homemade recipes, and create my meal around that choice. Rarely do you have the same thing twice at my house. I do not stray from that credo, no matter how much skepticism, and “Oh-no-here-she-goes-agains,” are tossed my way from my guests. (Bread smeared with Nutella and stomped with hot sausage and a jelled cranberry sauce ring plopped into a tumbler of vodka top the raised-eyebrows-and-moans list.) I’m dauntless, and there is very little that I won’t try. And I will eat anything.
So two of my dependable go-tos for years, for holidays, especially, is Bon Appetit magazine and The New York Times Wednesday Dining Section. I pick a page, or a few pages that are grouped together, no matter how much they don’t “match,” or how offbeat they sound and I put my meal together from beginnings to endings. Of course there have been some disasters, but that’s all part of the fun.
For Thanksgiving this year I went with two pages of the November 12 Times’ Dining issue. I made the bulk of the recipes offered (all good), but for our blog purposes, let’s just talk turkey. I tackled chef Jacques Pépin’s Steam-Powered Turkey.
My brother couldn’t look, my mother loves me for all my culinary quirkiness, and my kids are just like me and are game participants. It might sound sacrilegious to steam a 20 lb. turkey (C’mon, frying the bird has garnered respect and acceptance), but the fact is, after 30 minutes of steaming, you do roast it, with an off-beat glaze that includes apple cider and Tabasco, that drips into the one-inch holes that you punched into joint junctures of the raw bird before you steam it, and saturates the meat from the inside out.
The glaze also makes for crispy skin, and the drippings are groundwork for easy gravy.
Best Thanksgiving turkey – ever. So I will now be steaming all of my party birds, pre-roast, from now on, regardless of the recipe.