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Modernist Thanksgiving Suggestions?


msacuisine
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I now have an Immersion Circulator, an SVS, a blowtorch, Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker, an immersion blender, accurate scales, pH meter, silicon ravioli molds, caviar syringe, thermocouple thermometer and will hopefully have my iSI Siphon by next week. I also have a reasonable selection of hydrocolloids and other powders to play with: agar, xanthan, iota and kappa carregeenen, sodium alginate, calcium lactate, methyl cellulose LV and HV, cacium chloride,sodium citrate,soy lecithin powder, wondra, and N-Zorbit, some culinary crystals (i.e., unflavored pop rocks) as well as malic, lactic, and tartaric acids. In short, the beginnings of a respectable modernist kitchen. I feel I have a really good handle on sous vide now and basically it is the only way I've cooked meat. Still experimenting and getting to know the "culinary powders", but each experiment has been a delicious, if not always completely successful, learning experience,

Also, this year is the first year my family is coming to my house for Thanksgiving, which makes sense because my mother hates to cook and it's my passion. My mom like "traditional" holiday fare and has ask that the basics -- turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy -- be served. Outside of that, I'm pretty free to play. There are going to be 5-6 of us. I guess I should add that while I'm new to the modernist pantry, my traditional cooking skills are quite advanced, leaning French with an emphasis on technique.

I'm looking for suggestions to put my new toys to work to a make spectacular, unforgettable Thanksgiving dinner. And the more that can be made ahead the better. Definitely thinking of MC Mac and Cheese, some version of the Robichon, Bloomenthal, Myrvold, et al, pommes purée. and would like to include spherification in some way, as none of my guests will have ever had that experience. And the more I can make ahead, the better. (Also tried the much raved about carmelized carrot soup last week -- loved the technique, did not care for the soup itself, probably because I'm not that big on cooked carrots, so not interested in doing that again.)

So, anyone have any ideas/recipes?

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I'm doing the turkey sous vide again this year. I did it that way last year and it turned out great. Plus I can cook it a day ahead of time so it makes things a lot easier on Thanksgiving day.

I broke down the turkey and brined the pieces over night, then cooked the white and dark meat separately. On Thanksgiving day I just warmed them up, then took them out of the bag and deep fried them for 4 or 5 minutes to crisp up the skin.

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I've found that turkey leg/thigh confit was a huge hit (I confited in duck fat since that's what I had lying around). I took the confited parts, pulled the meat, made into patties bound with some methylcellulose (done ahead) and seared at service to serve along with the SV breast meat.

I found that turkey skin cooked SV wasn't so good (can be rubbery), so I puffed the skin and seasoned with dried "Thanksgiving spices".

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Thanks for the link! This is almost exactly like what im planning for my thanksgiving turkey breasts. In the link it says to sous vide @ 140F for 4-5 hours. But i cant reference the circumference of his roll to what mine will be (I am starting with a 22lb turkey). I know I need to invest in a thermometer with a waterproof probe but budget is tight this time a year. Does anyone know at what point in cooking duration does turkey breast start to get an unpleasant texture? Would 6 hours be too much? I would rather be safe then sorry.

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Thanks, everybody for all the links! This has been very helpful. Please keep the suggestions coming.

FeChef, take a look at this Cooking Issues article I found by following up on some of the suggested links: http://www.cookingissues.com/2009/11/18/daves-effort-to-stop-ruining-thanksgiving/

Dave Arnold has done the temperature/time comparisons for different parts of the bird. There's a very useful table about halfway down the page. It would suggest that 6 hours might not be good for texture.

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FeChef, take a look at this Cooking Issues article I found by following up on some of the suggested links: http://www.cookingissues.com/2009/11/18/daves-effort-to-stop-ruining-thanksgiving/

Dave Arnold has done the temperature/time comparisons for different parts of the bird. There's a very useful table about halfway down the page. It would suggest that 6 hours might not be good for texture.

Problem with that article is that theres no mention of the size of the breast, or if it was cooked whole (with both halfs). Judging by the chart with 1 hour being the best result, Im wondering if the breast was even a full half size.(even a small chicken breat half takes longer then an hour)

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Nice link! The lower temp of 140F/60C might make 6 hours OK, but I'm not sure it needs to be that long in the first place. Baldwin talks about 2.5 to 3.5 hour times IIRC.

2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours just seems too short for two large turkey breast halfs sandwiched together into a roll. Im guessing its going to be atleast 4 inches in circumference, maybe more.

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A 70 mm thick breast would require 5 hours at 60 degrees C (140 degrees F) to be pasteurized according to Baldwin.

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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A 70 mm thick breast would require 5 hours at 60 degrees C (140 degrees F) to be pasteurized according to Baldwin.

Yeah thats roughly 3 inches. Im almost certain this turkey breast roll will end up atleast 4 inches. I can see im gonna have to buy a cheap meat probe and hope it holds out. MC apparently used a cheap oxo brand inside a ziplock bag but i does not appear liquid got near where the metal probe met the cable.

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I suggest reading through Kenji's turkey-breast "porchetta" recipe on Serious Eats.

He removes the tenderloins and butterflies the breast halves to facilitate the rolling. I can tell you from my own experience that getting the breast halves into a workable shape is going to be very difficult without these two steps (you can create a separate, smaller roll with the tenderloins by pounding them thin).

He cooks his roll (appears to be about 3 inches, as described in earlier posts) at 140°F for 4 to 5 hours,

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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I suggest reading through Kenji's turkey-breast "porchetta" recipe on Serious Eats.

He removes the tenderloins and butterflies the breast halves to facilitate the rolling. I can tell you from my own experience that getting the breast halves into a workable shape is going to be very difficult without these two steps (you can create a separate, smaller roll with the tenderloins by pounding them thin).

He cooks his roll (appears to be about 3 inches, as described in earlier posts) at 140°F for 4 to 5 hours,

I read Kenji's recipe. The link was already posted in this thread, and i already touched base on his method. I am however, keeping both breast halves whole and reversing them so to make a round cylinder. I will be using activa GS to glue everything together, including the skin. It will then be Sous vide till it reaches 145F and then rapid ice chilled till serving time the following day. Because of this, and the extra time to retherm, I do not want to cook it any longer then i need to reach 145F. The following day there will be many things being retherm'd but only to 135F to accommodate the chuck roast im also serving. Im also planning to retherm the stuffing, mashed potatoes, ect..ect all in this 135F water bath inside a huge 75 quart cooler i use for 12/lb briskets and 10lb pork butts.

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Holy crap did i underestimate how difficult it was going to be to meat glue the turkey breasts together. I used the activa GS which suggests a 4:1 slurry. It made the two halves so slippery i could not get them to stay together while i wrapped and tied them. Luckily this stuff does not set really quick otherwise i would have been in real trouble. I dont know how good its going to turn out since they kept shifting. I think im going to buy a small 16lb turkey as a backup. This holiday has been nothing but stress so far.

Edited by FeChef (log)
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You could have also applied the GS dry - like you would for RM... much easier for this type of application

It actually says on the MP website not to apply the GS dry. This would not have been and issue if i was not trying to wrap the skin around the reversed breast halves. Im pretty sure the skin slipped off the one breast side...oh well it will still taste good just wont look as pretty. This wont be an issue for the chuck roasts im glueing together since there flat.

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What is MP? I got the information to apply it dry directly from one of Ajinomoto's north american sales reps... I commonly use it dry when I remove duck breast skin - remove the fat, then glue it back on to the raw duck breast.

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What is MP? I got the information to apply it dry directly from one of Ajinomoto's north american sales reps... I commonly use it dry when I remove duck breast skin - remove the fat, then glue it back on to the raw duck breast.

http://www.modernistpantry.com/moo-gloo-gs-transglutaminase.html

How to use GS

GS is always mixed into slurry with 4 parts water. It is safe and easy to use.

Typical usage is 0.75 1.0% of formula weight.

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The chicken feet should work just fine.

I think the gelatin is intended for use by folks who are using store-bought stock.

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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sous vide turkey breast 4 inches thick took 4 hours to reach 135F water temp is145F. After 6 hours its now 141F and climbing. Should reach 145F in another hour. This is still safe right? Any experts here?

Not an expert, but the standard as I understand it (per Baldwin, especially) is to reach130F within four hours, So, you should be good to go.

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