Three for two

I have in the past expounded on the cornucopia we celebrate as well as the gluttony we often find ourselves faced with when it comes to food consumption this time of the year. As I will restate –  there is only one reason for the month of November – to host or be hosted at an over the top Thanksgiving Day dinner which usually takes place much earlier than a normal days dinner because aunt Lulu has to drive in from Effingham and that throws the whole thing off.

This edition offers three meal suggestions for two holidays any of which can be used for   Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s dining. I will include some recipes and wines for a lovely beef roast and some sparklers for any and all of the aforementioned events. What I would hope to do is provide you with a thoughtful guide on how to best enjoy what really should be a tremendous day(s) of wine and food enjoyment.

Turkey 1The turkey, dressing and gravy recipes that you’ve come to know and love and can be found at  in the recipe section.

As an alternative flavor treat for possible Christmas or New Year’s events, I’m sending a terrific recipe your way for turkey done in a Peking Duck style courtesy of famed Chicago chef Stephanie Izard of the Girl and the Goat restaurant. It uses soy sauce, ginger and fruit in a brine to first flavor the turkey and then a soy glaze that you’ll baste   the turkey with as it cooks to crisp the skin and add even more flavor, I can’t wait. Be thinking Pinot Noir for this one for sure.

Turkey Roasted as Peking Duck

You’ll need a 5 gallon bucket with lid (for brining) or I use two doubled up, unscented tall kitchen garbage bags. I place the bird and any other ingredients for the brine into the bags. Then put the bag with the turkey into a cooler big enough to hold it and then add the water and tie off the bags – see how that works out?  You can add some ice to the cooler depending where you’re going to keep the cooler.


  • 2 C Salt
  • 2 C Sugar
  • 1 C Soy sauce
  • 1 C Sweet/dark soy sauce Note: e-mail me for this recipe
  • 1 Stalk lemon grass
  • 1 4-Inch Piece of ginger
  • 2 Dried Thai chilies or maybe some Sriracha sauce
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Orange
  • 2 ½ gallons water + more to cover the turkey


  • 15 lb. Fresh turkey
  • 1 whole Fennel
  • 2 large Spanish onions
  • 4 Apples (Honey Crisp or Pink Lady)
  • 2 – Inch Piece of ginger
  • 1 lb. Unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp. Sweet/dark soy sauce

Make the brine – 2 days in advance. Roughly cut up the orange, lemongrass and ginger into pieces. Smash garlic. Bring water to a boil and add garlic, ginger, chilies, lemongrass, orange, salt, sugar, soy sauce and sweet soy sauce. Let it simmer until sugar and salt dissolves, about 10 minutes. Then remove from heat and refrigerate overnight.

Brine the turkey – 1 day in advance. Place turkey into the chilled brine along with the neck. Add more water, enough to cover the turkey. Place the lid on and refrigerate 24 hours.

For the turkey – preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove turkey from the brine and let sit to dry and come to room temperature, 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare the aromatics to be cooked with the turkey. Roughly chop the fennel with stems, onions, apples and ginger. Place aromatics around the turkey and inside the cavity. Next, make a compound butter by combining butter and sweet soy sauce. Rub a quarter of the butter all over the turkey. Pull out the thermometer probe that comes with the turkey and replace it with a kitchen thermometer in the same spot or in the deepest part of the turkey. Roast the turkey to 160 degrees, about 3 hours. Note: it will continue to cook after it comes out of the oven.

As the turkey cooks, baste it with more compound butter every 20-30 minutes.

When the kitchen thermometer in the turkey reads 160 degrees, remove it from the oven and cover with foil and a kitchen towel let it rest. The temperature will continue to rise slowly as it rests out of the oven. Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.beef 2

Space prevents me from offering my beef roast recipe with a 14 herb and spice rub as well as a scalloped potato with mushrooms and Parmesan cheese. If you’re interested send me an e-mail forward you copies.

Okay how about some wine. You know I love the sparklers especially with turkey as the bubbles and acid really cut through all of the flavors and richness of the Thanksgiving meal  and leave you a clean and clear pallet.

Look for Blanc de Noir from Domain Chandon and Gloria Ferrer and rosé from Anna Cordoniu

white wine 3

A terrific Gewurztraminer comes from Emile Beyer and if you must have Chardonnay the Frei Brothers reserve Sonoma has sweet aromas of toasted oak and butter, balanced by flavors of ripe green apple and delectable baked apple pie, turkey anyone?


Meiomi’s Pinot Noir comes from three of the California’s most sought after coastal growing regions brilliantly meld together in this deeply flavored, stylish and truly balanced Pinot Noir and for a truly different approach try the Purple Hands Pinot from the Willamette Valley that brims with blackberry and currant fruit with a layer of wet stone and floral aromatics.

red wine 4With the beef roast I’m suggesting two Bordeaux Superior wines as they have more Merlot, try the Ch. Lescalle, 90 points and $15.99 and the Nicolas Barreyre 89 points at $13.99, that’s wine from France for less than 20 bucks a bottle.

I wish you the best for any and all of the holidays and hope to see you around at a Famous wine tasting in Forest Park or Lombard where I’ll be offering tastes of many of the foods you’ve read about today.

That’s my whine and I could be wrong.

Woody Mosgers, cooks, caters, drinks and matches wine and food at