Turkey 101 With Whole Foods

Thanksgiving is next Thursday and all week we have recipes from the top chefs in the Triad to help you out.

Mara Norris from Whole Foods stopped by to show you how to properly carve the bird and cook it. She also showed us some great grab-and-go options if cooking isn't your forte.

Good Gracious Gravy

  • 1 Shallot, minced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour (more if needed)
  • 1/4 Cup Sherry
  • 2 Cups Turkey Drippings
  • Bay Leaf
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Chill turkey drippings in a shallow pan in the freezer until the fat congeals on the top, then remove. In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, sweat shallot and garlic in coconut oil. Slowly whisk flour into fat until a thick paste forms. Cook until your paste turns white and then to a blonde color. Add sherry and whisk into roux thoroughly. Add turkey drippings to your roux (just about a 1/4 cup at a time), whisking thoroughly after each addition. Add bay leaf and simmer until thickened (about 15 minutes). Add additional turkey or chicken stock if needed. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.

Tips for the perfect roasted turkey

  • If you buy a frozen bird, never thaw it at room temperature. Either thaw it in the refrigerator for two or three days (depending on the size of the bird) or thaw it under running cold water.

  • Brine before it's time!!! Brine your turkey in a solution of salt, sugar, spices and water at least two days before you cook your turkey. It will release the moisture it has absorbed during the brining process while it is cooking instead of releasing its own moisture.

  • If you choose to stuff your bird, do not stuff the cavity too full so air can have a chance to circulate and cook the stuffing fully. Stuffing must reach 165° as measured by a thermometer.
  • Plan on approximately 15 minutes per pound in a 350° oven.

  • Do not wait for the temperature gauge included in the turkey to pop up. By that time, your turkey will be dried out. Invest in a meat thermometer, and pull your turkey out of the oven when it reads 165° (or a couple of degrees lower since it will continue to cook after leaving the oven) inserted into the thickest part of the dark meat.
  • Only baste your turkey with its own juices or other fat. Basting with wine or stock will wash away any of the turkey's natural juices and make it dried out. If you roast your turkey in an oven bag, there is no need for basting and the drippings will be nicely contained in the bag

  • Allow your turkey to rest for a half hour before slicing so the juices have a chance to redistribute.
  • Instead of slicing the breast meat while it is on the bird, remove the breast completely and slice it against the grain. This will make the breast meat even more tender.


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