Rob Fox talks Thanksgiving

Executive Chef Rob Fox discovered his love of cooking early.  Here are some expert tips from him to help with your Thanksgiving meal.

“As a kid I use to always help my Mom cook at home. I’d pull up a chair to the counter and mix, roll, &  shape whatever I could get could get my hands on. I’m sure I was more of a speed bump than a help but I always wanted to be involved.

After being exposed to some restaurant style cooking, now I’m the one giving the tips to Mom on Thanksgiving. Her food was always good, but a few little things I have her doing now have helped her food pop a bit more..

I’m sure they’re nothing new to the avid home chef, but here are a few Thanksgiving methods that are second nature to me now when preparing a Thanksgiving feast.

First, let’s talk stuffing:  my favorite item on my table. Always cut your stuffing bread and dry it out in the oven. Many don’t realize there’s a lot of moisture in bread, especially that soft “stuffing bread” they sell in the supermarkets. The more moisture in the bread, the less of your stuffing liquid the bread will be able to absorb which means a less flavorful stuffing. Just cut it and lightly toast it in the oven, almost like you’re making croutons. Then when you add the broth it will be fully absorbed and you will be able to taste the difference I promise. I also like to roast my Mirepoix (Onions, Celery, & Carrots) with some fresh Sage for my stuffing, and don’t be afraid to add a little cider to the broth too before you mix it with the bread.

Fast forward to gravy:  When I take the Turkey from the pan, rather than simply dumping the drippings into a sauce pan for gravy, I like to put the pan right on the stovetop on low heat with some water/stock and scrape all the goodness off the bottom of the pan, then I’ll strain that liquid into my roux (flour & butter) for the gravy. Most times I don’t need to add anything else to the gravy, the flavor is full and perfectly seasoned (assuming I did a good job seasoning the bird).


And after...When I’m done carving the turkey, after I’ve picked the bird almost clean, the carcass goes right into a stock pot and I begin making a stock for soup. I add the compost from cutting my stuffing Mirepoix, all the carrot peels, onion and celery tops, sage stems, etc., peppercorns, and a few bay leaves. I cover the carcass with water and let it simmer for at least 4 hours. That gets strained and goes in the refrigerator, and the solids are discarded. In a few days when the leftover sandwiches have been enjoyed, I cut up the remaining meat and make Turkey and Wild Rice Soup using the broth, and even any remaining gravy. Many meals enjoyed from a single Turkey.

Only a few more weeks to my favorite holiday!