Goldbird Variations

This year we stayed home for Thanksgiving. which gave me an opportunity to try another non-stadard turkey preparation. The key to perfect dark and white meat is to cook the bits separately, giving each the time/temperature treatments necessary to produce juicy meat. I had already figured out the perfect method for confiting the legs, so I began there, sealing the legs and wings with duck fat, butter, and sage.

Confit Legs and Wings

The breast was prepared in the style of a porchetta, a recipe developed by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eats. I removed the skin in one piece and then layered the butterflied boned breasts on top. After scoring the interior, I rubbed a mixture of sage, garlic, fennel seeds, and red pepper into the cuts.


Utilizing my charcuterie skills, I rolled the meat into the skin and tied it off into a roast. (If I make this again, I will probably dust both sides of the meat with transglutaminase to bind everything together.)

Fit To Be Tied

I vacuum sealed the turchetta and cooked it sous vide for six hours at 60°C.

She Who Must Be Obeyed made our traditional sausage and sage stuffing, but we decided to try another Serious Eats innovation: stuffing waffles. Instead of baking the wet, just-mixed stuffing, she pressed it in our waffle iron.

Stuffing Waffles

When the turchetta was done, I dried it off and deep-fried it for ten minutes, rolling it once to get all of the skin crispy. (Again, for future reference: Use a deeper pot, to prevent a fire hazard from boil-over.)

Fried Turchetta

I boned out the legs, then sliced everything for serving.


In addition to the non-traditional turkey and stuffing, we had donut stuffing (made from dried chunks of orange-ginger cake donuts from Union Square Donuts), mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, and gravy made from turkey stock and confit gelatin.

Final Plate

The breast was moist and the seasoning didn’t overpower the taste of the meat – which I don’t think I could say if I had used a store-bought bird. There are assertive flavors at work that require the turkey to taste like turkey. The waffles were crispy and caramelized, and also provided essential gravy containment.

And, of course, we had plenty of leftovers. Tonight’s “breakfast for dinner’ variation was hash with waffles and egg:


Turkey: It’s what’s for dinner. And breakfast. And lunch. (But not dessert. Yet.)

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