So much depends upon a Thanksgiving turkey. Even as cooks across America lavish more attention than ever on inventive sides, the bird still is, and always will be, the star of the show. And lately, the question of which turkey to buy is becoming every bit as fraught as how to cook it. Remember the days when the only turkey buying decision you had to make was choosing between fresh and frozen? Now consumers can add to those categories distinctions like organic, kosher, and antibiotic-free. On the opposite end of the spectrum from your standard supermarket birds lie heritage turkeys, historic breeds raised naturally that share more in common with the wild birds found on bourbon bottles than today's factory-raised specimens. A turkey that fits this romantic ideal comes at a price, however: roughly four times what you pay for theconventional option. Last year's November issue of BA made a strong case for heritage turkeys in a Q&A with Heritage Foods USA
Blog Posts by bon appétit magazine
- bon appétit magazine | Shine Food – Mon, Nov 25, 2013 12:46 PM ESTElizabeth Gunnison
- bon appétit magazine | Holiday Food Guide – Fri, Nov 22, 2013 5:43 PM ESTElizabeth Gunnison
Although the modern cook may tend towards the likes of Brussels sprouts with bacon or glazed carrots for the big Thanksgiving spread, green bean casserole has long been the holiday's iconic side. Personally, I have never been among this casserole's (many) supporters. The basic idea is nice enough, but soggy, defrosted green beans bathed in insipid mushroom soup concentrate? All the fried onions in the world couldn't improve that combination, as far as I'm concerned. But as the holiday draws near, I couldn't help but wonder if a from-scratch approach to the dish would lend it some much-needed verve. And what would my testers have to say on the issue?
The Contenders: French's Green Bean Casserole vs. Alton Brown's Best Ever Green Bean Casserole
It might not surprise you to hear that a dish made with Campbell's soup and French's onions was, in fact, invented in a corporate test kitchen. The now-classic recipe was conceived by Dorcas Reilly in 1955, while she wasRead More »from Is Homemade Green Bean Casserole Worth the Effort?
- E.C. Gladstone
Thanksgiving is America's most traditional holiday meal, one with a national menu that every family follows in their own way year after year. For many of us, "traditional" means those tried-and-true recipes from Grandma's house (possibly "inspired" by a supermarket supplement or ladies' auxiliary cookbook from the '60s) that we look forward to on Thanksgiving. You may eat the same dishes every year-be they marshmallow-topped yams, straight-from-the-can cranberry sauce, or gummy white bread stuffing-but mess with the classics at your peril. Even the most experimental restaurant chefs throw in the towel at Thanksgiving and go for the crowd pleasers.
Lately, however, some restless souls have branched out and twisted our American Thanksgiving flavor profiles with a devil-may-care bravery that the pious Pilgrims might condemn, but that we love. Saviors or sinners? We'll let you be the judge.
- Danielle Walsh
Curried beef stewIt's stew season! We've been taking advantage of the chill in the air, and making warm, cozy dishes like chili, posole, and chicken stew for dinner. But there's one stew to rule them all: beef stew. Though it's a staple in most households, this rich, hearty meal can sometimes fall short. It can be too thin or too thick; the meat can be dry and stringy or gray and flavorless; veggies can be too mushy or not cooked enough. It's a tough balance to strike, but you should know how to cook this classic cold-weather dish like a pro. We asked senior associate food editor Alison Roman for advice on making the best batch of stew humanly possible, and she pointed out the 7 deadly sins everyone should avoid. Trust us: When you're digging into your flavorful stew with tender morsels of beef on that first truly cold night, you'll be grateful.
DON'T use any old cut of meatRead More »from 7 Mistakes to Avoid when Making Beef Stew
Using the wrong cut of beef is probably the worst mistake you could ever make when it comes to beef stew.
- Rachel Johnson
To be real, your first solid food experience almost assuredly started with a spoon accompanied by "choo choo here comes the train!". The train was clearly carrying cargo of mashed peas or strained banana (by the way, you can totally catch some BA baby food tips from deputy editor Scott DeSimon). Spoons have served as a favorite utensil from age 4-6 months-and so when a dish, especially a bread, requires a spoon to serve it, you know it's got to be better than mushy carrots. In any form, eating food with a spoon just always seems the right way to do it. This Pumpkin Spoon Bread definitely deserves the eaten-with-a-spoon approval. No need to go all out with roasting your own-use canned pumpkin purée. It takes way too much time and often produces inconsistent results. Borrowing true harvest flavors, this spoon bread is the perfect addition to your brunch table. And go ahead and grab the spoons because baby, it's that good.
See more: 7 Most Common French ToastRead More »from No Forks Allowed: Pumpkin Spoon Bread
- bon appétit magazine | Shine Food – Wed, Nov 20, 2013 12:33 PM ESTElizabeth Gunnison
I am a from-scratch pie baker. Always have been and always will be. I can throw together an all-butter crust in under ten minutes, and wouldn't dream of serving cherry, apple, or banana cream confections that began life in a can or a freezer case. Except, notably, when it comes to pumpkin pie, which in my family has always been made using a store-bought crust and Libby's pumpkin purée, whipped up according to a recipe on the back of the can. Maybe this annual values shift has to do with the wealth of other cooking priorities that swarm around Thanksgiving Day, or maybe it's just that there seems to be so little room for improvement on the utterly delicious semi-homemade version. But now I wonder: Would freshly puréed pumpkin take this pie to a new level? And conversely, now that Libby's also sells a prefab Easy Pumpkin Pie Mix-could I make things even easier on myself come Thanksgiving without any loss of quality?
The Contenders: Libby's Easy Pumpkin Pie vs.Read More »from Is Making Pumpkin Pie with Homemade Puree Worth the Effort?
- Alison Roman
The perfect Thanksgiving Turkey 1. Baste with a Brush
News flash: You don't need a baster. Use a brush to paint the drippings onto the turkey every 30 minutes or so, which keeps the bird moist and helps it get golden brown-all without burning yourself trying to siphon hot pan drippings.
2. Always Use a Thermometer
Taking the temperature of your (de-)feathered friend is the most accurate way to tell if it's ready. Remove the turkey from the oven (so the oven stays warm in case the bird's not done). Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, keeping it parallel to the bone without hitting it. This spot reaches 165° last; if you're good here, you're good everywhere.
3. A Ricer
Is Nicer Using a ricer gets you perfect mashed spuds: creamy, textured, fluffy, and never lumpy. Plus, it doesn't make them gluey the way a potato masher does or hog cabinet space like a food mill. RSVP International makes a very good one ($15; chefsresource.com).
4. Achieve Gratin GreatnessRead More »from 10 Essential Thanksgiving Techniques
As any good comic nerd can tell you, Thor's hammer grants its bearer unlimited strength and can throw off some pretty high voltage. As any good cook can tell you, those two qualities make hammering just as crucial for culinary battles as it is for your godly smiting. From caveman steaks to immersion heating, here are five ways to make Mjölnir an indispensable weapon in your war on hunger.Read More »from 5 Culinary Uses for Thor's Hammer
- Danielle Walsh
There are handfuls of ways to make chili: some people like it with ground beef and beans, some like it Texas-style with big chunks of meat, and plenty go vegetarian. Whatever your pleasure, there are many mistakes made when cooking this football favorite. We asked senior food editor Dawn Perry to point them out so we can all avoid them. Read her list and you'll be on your way to making your best batch yet…Read More »from 5 Mistakes You're Making with Your Chili
1. Browning doesn't matter: Just kidding! Browning ALWAYS matters. Searing your meat first will get you a deep, umami-packed flavor that will permeate your chili. Plus, you don't want your beef or pork to become grayish lumps in your stew, do you? No. So make sure you've got a nice sear-this goes for both diced and ground meat.
2. Vegetables? Throw them in raw: Wrong. Sautéing onions, garlic, and other veggies first coaxes maximum flavor out of them. So make sure your onions, for example, are soft and translucent before you add your liquid.
3. Use a
- Elizabeth Gunnison
Herb and Onion Stuffing
I'm willing to bet that stuffing-tender, buttery, savory, carb-glorious stuffing-ranks as one of the most universally appealing food substances on the planet. It's not hard to fathom why Stove Top first engineered its just-add-water-and-margarine version of the Thanksgiving classic, providing Americans with easier access to food comas all year round. But is the instant version up to holiday snuff? As you begin planning your Thanksgiving menu, we put Stove Top up against a version we actually made on our stove top.
The Contenders: Stove Top Traditional Sage Stuffing vs. Bon Appetit's Herb and Onion StuffingRead More »from Is Homemade Stuffing Better Than Boxed?
The practice of stuffing birds and other small animals for cooking goes way back-at least to ancient Rome-and features in cuisines around the globe. Your standard turkey stuffing consists of cubed or crumbled bread, onion, celery, fresh or dried herbs, stock, and butter, and has been a part of the American Thanksgiving tradition at least since the 1930s.