There’s something so bold about departing from the traditional, will-it-or-won’t-it-be-dry turkey. Though lots of folks say the bronzed bird itself is what makes or breaks Thanksgiving, is that really true? It’s not an easy thing to make a moist, gorgeous number (though we have foolproof recipes for those who love to do so).
If you’re more of a mashed potato evangelist, a sweet potato fanatic, or a “give-me-green-bean-casserole-or-give-me-death” sort of person, we’ve got you covered. Perhaps this is the year you cut yourself a break from preparing that big, unwieldy Thanksgiving turkey. Whether it’s popping the beast in a sous vide machine days in advance, plating it in a silky molé, wrapping it in bacon (!) or transforming it into meatballs—yes, we went there—we’ve got ways to make life easier this T Day. Here are five hits from the big bird vault.
If you’ve ever wrapped a food—whether a scallop, chicken breast or roast—in cured pork to keep it moist, you know how divine the results can be. These bacon-wrapped turkey thighs succeed for exactly that reason, and our Italian salsa verde brimming with herbs and capers is just the thing to spoon over them.
This quick rendition of Puebla, Mexico’s mole poblano utilizes pantry staples for a superbly aromatic cumin, cinnamon, and chocolate-spiked sauce. Turkey breasts in mole sauce are just the thing to mix it up if you have had it with the typical holiday spread.
Fennel is the base of the unusual, delicious stuffing nestled inside these rolled stuffed turkey slices. Bristling with fresh herbs, it’s an ideal counterpoint for the bird, which stays moist during cooking. We particularly love that you can use a simple gravy starter, saving another dish and another headache on the big day.
Sure, it might seem like heresy—until you remember just how wonderful good meatballs can be. Rosemary, fresh sage, thyme, cream and luscious pork take these from “ho-hum” to “whoa, Nelly!” Seared in oil with sage, then given a long braise in turkey stock, they’re plush and savory as can be.
Consider this: a bird that doesn’t need gravy. If that’s what interests you, this is the recipe you need in your life. In fact, when keeping a protein incredibly moist is the problem, sous vide is almost always the answer. This broken-down Thanksgiving turkey with beautifully bronzed skin is quite truthfully the most moist we’ve ever had.