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A Local Thanksgiving

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Marc Jaffe, Snowdance Farm  

Duck-Fat-Rubbed Roast Turkey

THE CHEF:
Bill Telepan
(Telepan)
Brining is all well and good, but it’s messy and takes up a lot of room in the fridge. Bill Telepan prefers rubbing the turkey with duck fat and salt before cooking. “It makes the meat tender and gives it a nice, crispy skin,” he says. Snowdance Farm’s broad-breasted white turkeys “have superior flavor and a nice firm texture,” he says. He gives the bird a quick burst in the oven at 475 degrees for 30 minutes, which browns the skin and seals in the juices, and then reduces the temperature to cook the bird for another hour.

THE FARMER:
Marc Jaffe
(Snowdance Farm) Livingston Manor; 845-439-5561
Marc Jaffe, a lifelong New Yorker, lived in Manhattan until 9/11. “My second child was born soon after, and living in an apartment two blocks below Canal Street was too stressful,” he says. So Jaffe and his wife, Susan, decided to move to their house in the Catskills. “I started with a small investment of 150 chickens,” he says. Today, Jaffe raises over 7,000 chickens a year and 250 broad-breasted white turkeys. They’re raised outdoors and are grass-fed, making them flavorful and tender.

THE RECIPE:
1/4 cup salt
1 tablespoon white wine
1/4 cup melted duck fat (available at D’Artagnan and gourmet stores)
2 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped thyme
1 turkey, 12 to 14 pounds
11/2 sticks softened butter
Salt and ground black pepper

Combine the salt, wine, duck fat, shallots, garlic, and thyme in a bowl. Rub two-thirds of the mixture all over the exterior of the turkey using your hands; rub the remaining third in the cavity of the bird. Set the turkey in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap or tin foil and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Rinse the turkey, brush off the shallots and garlic, and pat dry with a paper towel. Place the bird on a roasting rack. Spread butter over the turkey, season with a little salt and pepper, and place in the oven. Cook the turkey for 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to 375 degrees, and baste the bird every 15 to 20 minutes until the internal temperature of the leg reaches 155 degrees when tested with an instant-read thermometer (about 1˝ hours for a 14-pound turkey).

Remove the bird from the oven; let it rest 15 minutes before carving.

GIBLET STOCK
Turkey giblets and wing tips
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 head garlic, split
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs parsley
5 cups chicken stock

Place the turkey giblets, wing tips, and all other ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and simmer for 2 hours.

TURKEY GRAVY
2 ounces butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups giblet stock

Remove the turkey from the roasting pan. Pour off drippings, if any, and skim fat.

Set roasting pan over medium heat and melt butter or turkey fat in the pan. Whisk in flour, blend together, and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in stock and scrape the bottom of the pan well. Bring to a boil, transfer to a saucepan, and simmer slowly for about 10 minutes. Add any juice from the resting bird to the pan and bring to a boil. If the gravy gets too thick, add a little stock or water. Season to taste with salt and pepper; strain.


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