How can you have any meat if you haven't had your pudding?
December 8, 2006 10:55 AM   Subscribe

I could have sworn that I read something by Jeffrey Steingarten in which he encourages his readers to cook a turkey roast made of turkey breast, herbs, and possibly other meats tied together with twine, instead of fussing with a full sized bird. It's not in The Man Who Ate Everything, however. Does anyone remember this? Or, could someone recommend an easy to make, impressive main dish for our Christmas dinner?
posted by craniac to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by nineRED at 10:59 AM on December 8, 2006

Roast goose is a traditional, but (in the U.S.) infrequently served Christmas dinner. In comparision to turkey, chicken, or even duck, goose is all rich "dark" meat, with a lot of fat. Stands up well to full bodied wines, and almost any vegetables.
posted by paulsc at 11:10 AM on December 8, 2006

Second the goose. Most good grocers (even the chains) will have some in their freezer case, though you may have to dig to find them.

Go for the complete Victorian experience with some chestnut stuffing. Recipes for both the stuffing and the goose abound on the net.
posted by ewagoner at 1:37 PM on December 8, 2006

I thought Rachel Ray pushes the idea of cooking a breast instead of the whole bird, but I can't find that online. I found this, though; it refers to Thanksgiving, but could be true to Christmas, too: "...celebrity chef Rachael Ray, who said she cooks two smaller birds so she can sleep late on Thanksgiving instead of waking up at 5 a.m. to stuff a 20-pound turkey in the oven.

'Plus, you get more legs and wings that way,' she said. 'Also, it looks better on your table because you can carve one bird up and leave the other whole at first for presentation.'"
posted by inigo2 at 1:48 PM on December 8, 2006

Turducken in "It Must Have Been Something I Ate"?
posted by ubu at 2:17 PM on December 8, 2006

You mean like this? They sell prepared all-breast meat turkey roasts in grocery stores 'round here. My mom hasn't cooked a whole turkey in years. It's like a football of turkey meat.
posted by GuyZero at 2:34 PM on December 8, 2006

Are you sure it was Steingarten? What you're describing seems entirely un-Steingarten-like.

In addition to turducken, he has written an article about roasting goose, and another about his obsession with roasting chickens. In general, he seems to be very much in favor of roasting whole fowl. And then there's this:

... instead of fussing with a full sized bird...

Not fussing with something? There's no way it could have been Steingarten!

(That being said, it's entirely possible that he wrote such an article, I just don't remember ever reading it).

Also, I suspect he would agree that the breast is the least interesting part of the turkey. If you want to go all-out Steingarten, check out the chapter in one of his books entitled Supergoose.
posted by alopez at 2:54 PM on December 8, 2006

Best answer: For Thanksgiving I made a wild boar leg, and it was terrific (and very easy). It also was surprisingly juicy even though cooked to 160 degrees internal temperature. I let it rest 10 minutes under a foil tent. Made the butter-mustard-caper sauce they have on the site. It's cooked quite slowly (250 degrees), which is why it came out so tender and moist, probably. Taste like a fresh pork roast but with more flavor. Easy to carve, and not something people will normally have.
posted by LeisureGuy at 3:26 PM on December 8, 2006

I would also second the fresh ham idea. With the incredibly fatty skin intact, it pretty much self-bastes itself. You will need to cut a diamond pattern in the skin to get the fat to render out more effectively and make sure you get a shank cut (lower half of the leg) because it is easier to carve. Cook's Illustrated has a pretty kick ass recipe for it that I have used to great success. Note: it can make your kitchen a little smokey. If I had to do over again, I would make modifications to the pan to cut the smoke.
posted by Foam Pants at 4:37 PM on December 8, 2006

Best answer: Or, could someone recommend an easy to make, impressive main dish for our Christmas dinner?

Impressive? Standing Rib Roast.

Impressive and fairly easy? Beef Tenderloin
posted by LoriFLA at 4:44 PM on December 8, 2006

I've done the roast-breast thing but the truth is that without the flavour from the bones etc it's a bit of a pale approximation of the real thing. You can obviously compensate with fancier flavorings and dressings however.
posted by unSane at 5:22 PM on December 8, 2006

Standing Rib Roast is so easy, there's no point in not using the ribs. They act as a rack! It takes no effort. Just rub dry mustard on the red parts and salt the whole thing liberally and then roast it.

And then make Yorkshire pudding.
posted by mckenney at 5:26 PM on December 8, 2006

Best answer: If you go the standing rib roast route:

From Nov-Dec 2002 issue of Cook’s Illustrated and stripped to its essentials:

1. Take the roast out 2 hours before starting the process.

2. Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees.

3. Using kosher salt, salt and pepper the roast all over.

4. Take a heavy 10-12” skillet and heat it on medium for 4 minutes. Put the rib roast in, fat side down, and brown it for 12 minutes. Then turn the roast onto ONE side for 4 minutes, then the other side for 4 minutes. This is all the browning the roast gets so do a good job.

5. Put the roast in roasting pan, ribs down, and roast at 250 degrees until temperature inside is 135-140 (that’s my preference, anyway).

6. Remove from the oven and tent with foil to rest 10 minutes before carving.
posted by LeisureGuy at 3:02 PM on December 10, 2006

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