Turkey is on the table every Thanksgiving, but this year you can switch things up without forgoing the dish everyone expects. Whether you're switching up your cooking style or trying a whole new recipe, here are some great ideas to help you out in the kitchen.
Switch up your cooking style
For starters, forget all about the oven or roaster this year and experiment with a whole different way of cooking that bird centerpiece. Experiment may be a strong word choice though here, because all of these methods are tried and true, and will leave you with a juicy, delicious turkey dish.
- Fire up the grill. Whether you've got a gas or charcoal grill, this cooking method will add the perfect amount of smokiness, while not drying out the bird.
- Fry it. What's not to love about deep-fried turkey? While you'll still be brining the bird, this is a recipe sure to please everyone at the table, adults and kids alike. Deep frying might be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be with these step by step directions.
- Bring out the crockpot. This cooking method may require breaking down the turkey into parts first, but the end result can be anything from a delicious stew/soup to turkey confit! Plus, while cutting the turkey into parts takes time, throwing some veggies and broth into the pot will save you a bunch of time on the busy holiday.
Try different rubs or stuffings
Another way to mix things up this Thanksgiving is to try out different spices or rubs to give your turkey an added punch. Citrus-rubbed turkeys, especially when paired with rosemary, can be a delight to your guests' palate, while cajun rubs are great if you love some spice.
Be inspired by different cultures
Thanksgiving is one of the most American of all holidays, but that doesn't mean you can't be inspired by your heritage or other cultures when you're in the kitchen.
- Greek-style. Use ingredients like lemon, orange and tangerine on your turkey, and be sure to serve it with a nice big serving of roasted potatoes.
- Mexican-style. A good mole is wonderful on its own, but take that sauce and roast your turkey in it. Not only will it keep the turkey plenty moist, but it'll add a whole new dimension of flavor to it - especially when the turkey is stuffed with masa.
- French-style. Whether you're using herbs de provence as your rub of choice, or cooking the turkey in a riesling wine, a French-inspired turkey is hard to beat.
- Montreal-style. For one of the most out-of-the-box recipes, look no further than a Montreal-style turkey. The dish can include all that Montreal is associated with-- from bagels and smoked meat to maple syrup and dill pickles - and makes a surprisingly tasty turkey.
No matter which non-traditional way you decide to cook your turkey, or which recipe you go with, you'll still be sure to have plenty of tasty leftovers.
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she's writing about a variety of topics for numerous websites and blogs, and working part-time at a culinary vacation company based in the Windy City. Some of her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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