Looking for a turkey replacement this year? Chefs share their tasty Thanksgiving alternatives
Supply-chain woes might not create a turkey shortage this year, but you could be looking at larger birds than your guests will need. Here are some options for new Thanksgiving-table traditions.
It was 2014 when Chrissy Teigen had an idea that could revolutionize Thanksgiving.
"We need to replace turkey with ribs on thanksgiving," she tweeted as part of what the website Gawker at the time called a 'Thanksgiving manifesto'. "And all laugh at the days we pretended to like turkey for 2 hours."
This year might force your hand if you don't have the appetite for a large bird. You'll probably be able to find turkeys in the meat department, Butterball President and CEO Jay Jandrian told Fox Business. Those big turkeys could stick shoppers with a hefty price bump of more than 10% in meats and poultry costs over last year.
So this year, whether it's because of supply chain woes or just because Teigen might have been right about our collective distaste for turkey, here are some options experts say we should consider:
Try some duck
Chef Mason Hereford, the owner of the New Orleans sandwich shop Turkey and the Wolf, may have dedicated his professional life to turkey. But if that wasn't on the menu, his first thought was to make duck. "You boil it in water and some sort of molasses and then you hang it up for 24 hours at room temperature. It dries out and then you roast it and the outside gets really nice."
That's not a direct recipe, he warns (his other tip was to google Peking Duck, but noted there's some special tools involved with that).
Here's how to buy them:Frozen turkeys are selling out everywhere before Thanksgiving
Chicken: That's the obvious choice here right?
Hereford recommends doing a dry brine - "put a little more salt than you think is probably appropriate as a home cook."
His directions: Let the chicken sit in the fridge for one to four hours. Next, pat a little bit of brine off and let it roast in the oven in a cast-iron pan with mushrooms and herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage and chicken stock. Roast it until it's cooked all the way through - (he thinks it's 375 for 90 minutes but use a meat thermometer to make sure).
Chop up some of the herbs and put them on the outside, throw some butter, or put pats of butter under the skin.
The final touch: Pour out all of the juice to make gravy and then put the pan on the heat and sear off those mushrooms and throw some garlic on there. Then you have chicken and mushrooms and your gravy will be chicken and mushroom gravy.
Speaking of chicken ... buy an extra pie crust and make some chicken pot pie
Southern Kitchen's Mackensy Lunsford recommends a recipe from Southern Kitchen contributor Anne Byrn. It's only seven ingredients (including salt and pepper). Put chicken, two round pie crusts, chicken broth, flour, butter and fresh or frozen vegetables on the shopping list and 45 minutes later, you have what could be the most popular pie at the table.
Or YouTube sensation Sam The Cooking Guy (more from him in a moment) recommends trying a steak or a duck pot pie.
Break tradition: How about a lasagna? Or some salmon?
Sam The Cooking Guy said there's always salmon at his Thanksgiving table. "I think salmon is beautiful. You can smoke it, you can slow roast it in the oven, you can stick it on the grill. There's a million ways you can deal with salmon."
Or, what about adding some carbs where there was once a large bird?
"A big gorgeous lasagna is pretty damn impressive especially when you make it with more layers than normal and you cut it and you see all the stripes that are sitting in there," Sam said. "You can do an all veggie one, a mushroom one, of course, a nice rich meat one is always pretty exciting."
And when you have leftovers ...
For any leftover poultry: "Take the gravy when it's cold and fold it into mayonnaise and then add some chopped up herbs and if you don't have gravy, a little bit of miso works - so that it's really savory," Hereford advised. "So if you roasted a bird and you wanted to make a gravy mayonnaise the next day, a little bit of Worcestershire sauce and miso will make it taste like gravy."
Then the key ingredient: Ocean Spray cranberry sauce and cheddar cheese.
But really ... just start your new tradition
"We have to our change our expectations a little bit. The past couple of years we barely had a Thanksgiving," Sam said. "If what's on the table isn't exactly the picture in your mind of what it should be, hey, that's pretty OK."