Food & Drink

Ask A Seattle Expert: Compiling The Perfect Holiday Menu

December 4, 2013 4:00 AM

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(photo credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

(photo credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

Owning 10 of the top restaurants in Seattle, chef Tom Douglas is the go-to guy when it comes to creating healthy, delicious dishes to serve for the holidays. With his expertise and assistance, Douglas helped put Seattle on the map when it comes to being one of the best culinary locations in the country. Douglas is also supportive of local businesses and many of the ingredients he uses to create his sought-after recipes are gathered right here in the Pacific Northwest.

Tom Douglas
Chef, Restaurateur and Author
2030 5th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 448-2001
www.tomdouglas.com

Chef, restaurant proprietor and author Tom Douglas owns 10 of Seattle’s most revered restaurants, as well as a successful catering business and a popular Seattle bakery. Douglas’ restaurants are known for their delicious food menus and this holiday season, he has shared some of his tips to help prepare your own holiday menu, as well one of his genius Seattle-inspired holiday recipe selections.

Tip 1

Tom recommends using stainless steel pots and pans for cooking large family meals at home. His favorite brand of cookware to use at his restaurants and at home is All-Clad. Tom also recommends using the right size knife for your hand. If you have knives of different sizes, test them out on a cutting board before beginning preparation of your holiday meal. If you’re going to be making apple pies or any type of pear dessert, use a melon baller, which will quickly remove the core from both apples and pears.

Tip 2

When roasting your turkey, don’t let it brown too much. If it begins to do this, create a tent over the turkey with aluminum foil. If you’re cooking for a large family or group of people, try using two 15-pound turkeys instead of just one 30-pound turkey. Be sure to always brine your turkey to keep it flavorful and so it retains all of its natural juices. If you’re looking for a unique type of brine for your turkey, try Tom’s own creation: a flavor-filled turkey rub that is gluten-free and made with brown sugar, orange peel, black pepper, coriander, chipotle and thyme (can be purchased through Tom’s website).

Tip 3 

If you’re not a big fan of salt, try replacing this ingredient with other spices that are healthier. When making stuffing, be sure to use the freshest bread possible. Tear it with your hands, and then toast it in your oven right before you begin to make your stuffing. Last but not least, buy locally made, grown and farm-raised ingredients, including meats, wines, coffee, spices, breads, cheese and more. With Tom’s coffee-inspired turkey recipe, it just made sense to try this since Seattle is so famous for its coffee. It turns a regular roasted turkey into one that has a deliciously unique “toasty-smoky aroma that seasons the bird from within.”

Related: Best Places To Eat Before The Show In Seattle

Coffee-Bean Turkey With Sweet Onion GravyIngredients:

  • 1 fresh whole turkey, 15 pounds (if you’re planning on cooking a 30-pound turkey, use two 15-pound turkeys instead)
  • 6 tbsp. butter, keep at room temp
  • 6 tbsp. butter, melted
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh, ground black pepper
  • 12 fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup dark-roast coffee beans (so many choices in Seattle – use your favorite)
  • 1 tbsp. collected bacon fat, melted
  • 1 whole onion, cut in half lengthwise
  • 5 garlic cloves, peel but leave whole
  • 7 to 8 cups of heated turkey or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup instant flour – use a brand that is quick-dissolving like Wondra

Overall preparation instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Remove any metal clamps on the turkey’s legs (if applicable), then remove the neck and giblets if included.
  3. Remove all cavity fat, rinse the turkey thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Use a small mixing bowl and add the 6 tbsp. of room temperature butter. Mash it and blend it until it is smooth. Season with pepper and Kosher salt.
  5. Next, separate the turkey skin from the breast meat, using your fingers. Start from the cavity and work your way to the end of the turkey. Be careful not to tear the skin.
  6. Then, baste the turkey by rubbing the softened butter thoroughly over the breast meat. Take 6 of the sage leaves and insert them under the turkey skin, placing 3 leaves per each breast. Put the turkey skin back in place, and baste the entire exterior of the turkey with the 6 tbsp. of melted butter.
  7. Next, season the turkey with pepper and Kosher salt all over the outside and also include the cavity.
  8. Then sprinkle the 1/2 cup of coffee beans inside of the turkey’s cavity.

To roast the turkey:

  1. Use a roasting pan that is just larger than your turkey. Baste the bottom of the pan with the melted bacon fat and lay a bed of onion slices in the center of the pan. Lay the turkey, breast side up, in the pan, on top of the onion slices.
  2. Roast the turkey for an hour, then baste it with melted butter.
  3. Add the remainder of the sage leaves, the garlic and five cups of heated broth to the pan.
  4. Continue roasting the turkey, basting it with melted butter every 1/2 hour, for another 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The turkey will be done when you can pierce the thigh and the juices run clear. You can also use a thermometer to test the temperature of the turkey thigh, which should read between 155 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Once the turkey is fully cooked, remove it from the oven, place it on a platter and tent it with aluminum foil. Let it set for at least 20 minutes.

To prepare the gravy:

  1. After removing the turkey, remove any coffee beans that escaped from the turkey cavity into the bottom of the roasting pan.
  2. Set the roasting pan with the onion slices and juices on the stove over one or two burners, at medium-high heat.
  3. Take a wooden spoon and loosen any browned bits that have settled onto the bottom of the roasting pan. Stir the mixture thoroughly for several minutes.
  4. Next, sprinkle the instant flour into the roasting pan over the onion slices and turkey juices until well-blended. This usually takes about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Then, add 2 cups of heated broth, simmer slowly and whisk the mixture occasionally until it thickens. This should take no more than 10 minutes.
  6. If the gravy is too thick, add additional broth. Then season with pepper and salt.
  7. Pour the warmed gravy mixture into a gravy boat or other serving dish to keep it warm.

Related: Best Pumpkin Treats In Seattle

Sue Gabel has been writing entertainment and travel-related articles in the greater Puget Sound/Seattle area since 1999. She writes about music, the Seattle scene and more. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.

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