VIVIAN HOWARD + BUTTERY TURKEY

Thanksgiving is a holiday rich with memories, traditions, and foods we only eat this time of year. For about two days leading up to Thanksgiving dinner, I can guarantee that there is nearly always something either going into or coming out of my oven, and aromas both sweet and savory waft throughout the house.

Our friends at Local Palate share a love of food and storytelling through their magazine, recipes, and blog (look for more on their revamped website and a Q&A in the coming weeks). You can find quite a few delicious seasonal recipes in their catalogue (conveniently sorted by holiday), including this offering from North Carolina-based chef Vivian Howard.

“This combination of turkey, cranberry, pecan, and sorghum, will make you hide your gravy boat for a year or two. All joking aside, these components, when paired with a green bean dish and side of sweet potatoes, would compose a perfectly balanced Thanksgiving plate all by themselves. And if turkey’s not your thing, this profile works beautifully with chicken, ham, or duck.” – Chef Vivian Howard

BUTTERY TURKEY WITH WARM SORGHUM VINAIGRETTE and CITRUS SWEET POTATOES WITH PECAN CRANBERRY RELISH

–From Chef Vivian Howard of Chef & the Farmer in Kinston, North Carolina, star of the PBS show A Chef’s Life, and featured on the November 2014 cover of The Local Palate magazine 

BUTTERY TURKEY

One fresh 12–18 pound turkey
Salt and black pepper
4 sprigs rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
1 orange, halved
2 pounds butter
1 lemon, halved
2×2-foot square of cheesecloth folded to cover the breast portion of your bird

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Remove the giblets from your turkey and rinse both the inside as well as the outside of the bird. Pat your turkey dry and season his skin and cavity thoroughly with salt and pepper.

Stuff the cavity with the rosemary, thyme, and halved orange. Place the turkey in a roasting pan and slide him into the oven.

Melt the butter along with the halved lemon in a small saucepan. After about 30 minutes of roasting, dip the cheesecloth into the lemon butter and lay it over the top of the turkey breast. Repeat this every thirty minutes (remove, dip in lemon butter, and replace) for the duration of the cooking time. The turkey is done when the juices run clear between the leg and the thigh, between 2½–3½ hours.

Remove the turkey from the oven and allow him to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Yield: 6–10 servings

PECAN CRANBERRY RELISH

½ cup butter
3 cups roughly chopped pecans
1 cup dried cranberries
⅔ cup thinly sliced leeks (white part only)
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

In a medium sauté pan combine butter and pecans and toast over medium heat. Stir in the cranberries and the leeks. Continue to roast for about 2 minutes. Stir in the bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Toss it all to combine.

Yield: 6–8 servings

WARM SORGHUM VINEGAR SAUCE

½ cup small diced red onion
½ stick butter
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅔ cup cider vinegar
½ cup sorghum syrup
¼ cup honey

In a medium saucepan, sweat the red onion in the butter. Cook until onions are soft and translucent. Add the nutmeg, black pepper, and vinegar. Bring this to a boil and add the syrup and honey. Simmer until it’s reduced by half. Serve warm.

Yield: 6–8 servings

*These recipes are excerpted from The Local Palate magazine, November 2014

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