5 Easy Steps to Beautifully Garnish Your Turkey + Stuffing Recipes
With the holidays just around the corner, gift shopping, tree decorating, and cooking are about to be in full swing. With the hustle and bustle of prepping for the holidays in addition to your already busy work schedule and family life, it may be hard not to leave something to the last minute. Whatever that may be, let that not be your cooking skills!
In preparing for your holiday feast, the turkey, the bird, whatever your main event is will be the star of the show. But beyond taste, presentation skills count too. So many compliments from your guests about your delectable meal will make the stress and worry a thing of the past!
Presentation. Is. Everything.
Having a well garnished turkey means the world when showcasing the fact that you do have your life together this holiday season.
5 EASY STEPS TO BEAUTIFULLY GARNISH YOUR TURKEY:
- PLATTER-- Rustic? Ceramic and white? Modern? Floral? Whatever theme best fits your style is the base on which your turkey shall lie. Another fun idea is using a blank of wood or your favorite cutting board to act as your meat platter.
- GREENERY-- the soft blanket between turkey and platter is a gorgeous bounty of greenery. Use leaves like fresh butter lettuce, kale, or sage and rosemary sprigs.
- FRUITS-- Depending on the flavor of your turkey and the look you are going for determines which fruits to use to garnish your turkey. Most common in the winter season are cranberries and figs, but citrus fruits like oranges and grapes also work nicely. Apples are also a nice touch as they are fully in season with so many different varieties to choose from!
- NUTS-- A good nutty contrast is ideal in color and texture differentiation. Hazlenuts and chestnuts still in their shell are most ideal as they’re big enough to be noticed. When cracked, their bold, nutty flavor sing with the fruit pairing of your choice and that turkey. Be mindful when using nuts that your guests don't have an allergy to them.
- VEGGIES-- Optional. Most commonly, greens and fruits are used as a garnish. Some beautiful side dishes include roasted carrots and onions sliced length-wise framing the turkey. Sometimes with or without a green base.
Stuffing, is the perfect companion when serving the main dish. Stuffing is complimentary to your dish in delivering a drool-worthy bite. Here are a couple of ideas to give you inspiration.
CELERY STUFFING RECIPE:
- (1 pound) loaf sliced white bread
- 3/4 cup butter or margarine
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Leave bread slices out spread on a pan and dry for 1 to 2 hours, then cut into cubes.
- In a Dutch oven, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Cook onion and celery until soft. Season with poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir in bread cubes until evenly coated. Moisten with chicken broth; mix well.
- Chill, and use as a stuffing for turkey, or bake in a buttered casserole dish at 350°F (175 degrees C) for 30 to 40 minutes.
Recipe by: Carlota Chmielewski
HERB AND GOAT CHEESE STUFFING RECIPE:
The above stuffing is actually a basic stuffing recipe, can you believe it? Simply add goat cheese. Crumble the goat cheese with your fingers. Instead of poultry seasoning use 1 Tbsp sage and 1 Tbsp rosemary and you’ve got a totally new and delicious stuffing recipe.
CHESTNUT AND CHERRY STUFFING RECIPE:
Swap out celery for ½ pound chopped chestnuts and ½ pound pitted and diced cherries for a truly holiday-inspired treat.
EASY SAUSAGE & HERB STUFFING RECIPE:
- 4 cups (8 oz) store-bought unseasoned stuffing cubes
- 4 cups sourdough bread
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 1-1/2 cups diced yellow onion (from 1 large or 2 small onions)
- 1 cup diced celery (from 3 large celery stalks)
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage (i.e., casings removed)
- 2-3/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup pistachios
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with butter.
- Chop the sour dough bread into 1" cubes. Place in a 350° oven and brown. About 15 minutes.
- Place the stuffing cubes in a large mixing bowl.
- Place pistachios and pine nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer in a 375° F oven for about 25 minutes or until they become aromatic and no longer taste starchy. Add nuts to the stuffing cubes.
- In a large sauté pan, melt the butter. Add the onions and celery and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Add the vegetables to the stuffing cubes. (Don't wash the pan but scrape out every last bit of vegetables, otherwise they will burn in the next step.)
- In the same pan, cook the sausage over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, until browned and cooked through, breaking up the sausage with a metal spatula while cooking (the largest pieces should be no greater than 1/4-inch). Add the browned sausage and fat to the bread cubes and vegetables.
- Add broth, egg, rosemary, sage, parsley, salt and pepper to the bread cube mixture and mix until the bread is soft and moistened. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish and bake for 65-75 minutes, uncovered, until deeply golden and crisp on top.
Note: If you can't find bulk sausage, simply buy regular sausage and remove the casings.
Recipe by: Once Upon a Chef with Jenn Segal