How to cook a holiday feast during a pandemic


The pandemic has created some gut-wrenching decisions when it comes to how we celebrate the holiday season with family and friends. Lengthy gatherings in close quarters seated around the dinner table are questionable. After months and months of caution, we crave the opportunity to socialize. We ache for connection, time together to enjoy great food with the people we love.

How about holiday gatherings in the backyard? Kind of an adventurous tailgate-style shindig, with a limited number of guests spread out, close enough to hear the conversation, but far enough to maintain a cautious distance. If it’s cold, ask guests to bring coats, maybe throw-sized blankets.

Key to this holiday season get-togethers is great comfort food. Ina Garten, bestselling author, and Food Network star has written a new cookbook, “Modern Comfort Food” (Clarkson Potter, $35). Her foolproof recipes offer comfort for cooks and guests alike.

I fell in love with her easy-to-cut new version of turkey roulade, Tuscan Turkey Roulade. It’s a whole (two halves of one turkey with the skin connecting them) boned turkey breast that is stuffed with a mixture of fennel-scented sauteed onions and garlic, plus prosciutto, butter and fresh herbs. The meat is rolled up and tied with cotton string, with a few fresh sage leaves are tucked under the string. It roasts unattended with wine and water resting at the bottom of the pan, the finished pan juices are used as a sauce.

Remove the strings and cut into slices. Easy, especially for an outdoor party.

When I tried it out in my kitchen, I called the grocery store in advance and ordered the bird. The butcher had it ready for me as requested, so I didn’t have to do the boning. On the phone, I made it clear that I wanted the breasts to stay attached to one another.

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I highly recommend using an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature after it has been in the oven for 90 minutes. If it registers 150 degrees in the middle of the center of the roulade, take it out and cover with aluminum foil and allow it to rest 15 minutes for the temp to come up. Otherwise, give it another 15 minutes in the oven.

No matter how the turkey is prepared, mashed potatoes seem a must. Ina’s updated Pureed Potatoes with Lemon are scrumptious. She based her recipe on a spud dish that is served at an Argentinian restaurant in …read more

Source:: Dailynews – News


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