Talking Turkey: Thanksgiving Vocab and Out-of-the-Box Recipes

by | Nov 2020

Wild Rice and Butternut Squash Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing


We’ve got your Thanksgiving cooking dictionary, along with holiday recipes from Heartbeet Kitchen!

There are a few Thanksgiving camps, including the tried and trues and the let’s do something news. (There’s no shame in sampling from both plates.) For those interested in traveling the culinary road not taken, we’ve collected some cooking vocabulary that can help clear the path to destination yum. We also have a few out-of-the-box holiday recipes, courtesy of Heartbeet Kitchen!

Braising = Uses wet and dry heat with food sautéed or seared and finished in a covered pot in low temperature with a liquid.

Brine = A salt solution, typically featuring fresh herbs and fruit, used to marinate turkey, for example, to provide for moist, flavor infused-meat. (Trust us; it’s worth doing to give your turkey an extra trot to the table.)

Crimping = The technique of pleating or adding a ruffled edge to pie dough, along the upper edge of the pie plate. (It’s all the presentation, so mastering this is half the battle of making homemade crust.)

Duchess baked potatoes = Fancy-pants mashed potatoes, which are prepared, piped into decorative, individual swirls and browned. (Impress the mother-in-law with these numbers!)

Galette = A flat, round pastry or bread that holds a sweet or savory filling.

Giblets = Liver, heart, gizzard (part of the stomach) and neck of fowl. (Used to flavor gravy, stuffing and soup.)

Gremolata = Made with chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest (accompanies a protein).

Hasselback potatoes = Arrived thanks to the Hasselbacken Hotel’s restaurant in Sweden, spuds are sliced (not all the way through the potato) into thin slices. (Presentation grade: A+)

Kabocha squash = Winter squash, also known as a Japanese pumpkin.

Minced meat = A finely chopped mixture of boiled meat, suet and apples with spices and raisins. (Calm yourselves; not all versions include meat.)

Roux = Typically equal parts fat (we like butter!) and flour for start sauces or gravy.

Sorghum = Used by cooks as a sweetener (Ask your Southern friends about it.) and can be ground into flour and used as substitute for wheat flour.

Tian = Finely chopped vegetables that are cooked in olive oil then baked au gratin (see next page for definition).

This vs That

Au gratin vs gratin dauphinoise = Au gratin includes slices of precooked potatoes cooked in cream and topped with cheese; dauphinoise includes slices of uncooked potatoes cooked in cream. (Don’t go the boxed route for au gratin potatoes; fresh is best, especially for the holidays.)

Compote vs chutney vs coulis = Compote features fresh or dried fruit slowly cooked in a sugar syrup; chutney is a combination of fruit, vinegar, sugar and spices; and coulis is simply a fruit (or veggie) puree.

Crumble vs buckle vs betty = Crumbles are typically stewed fruit and a topping mixture of butter, flour and sugar; buckle is fruit and cake baked with a streusel topping; and betty includes fruit layered between or on top of bread crumbs or cubes.

Spatchcocked vs butterfly = Same thing! You just sound more “chefy” is you refer to splitting a chicken by removing the backbone to flatten it for better cooking as spatchcocking.

Spoon bread (Typically a soft cornbread served with—a spoon!) vs bread pudding (Slices of bread baked with dried fruit, sugar, spices and eggs.)

Stock (Made from bones.) vs broth (Made from meat or veggies.) So if you want to feed your skin, nails and hair, stick to stock—it’s full of collagen.

Stuffing vs dressing = Here’s where the dinner table arguments begin. The ingredients for stuffing and dressing are basically the same. What’s different is how they’re cooked. Stuffing goes in the bird; dressing hangs out in a casserole dish in the oven or a pot on the stove.

Yam vs sweet potato = We’re betting 90 percent of us have been calling these Thanksgiving staples the wrong name. Often, an item labeled “yam” is actually a soft sweet potato (copper skin and orange flesh); items labeled “sweet potato” are firm sweet potatoes with golden skin and light flesh. Will the real yams please stand up? Real yams have black/brown skin and white, purple or reddish flesh. When in doubt, does it really matter?

Spice Rubbed Bone-In Turkey Breast with Mojo Sauce

Serves 6

For the turkey:

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 3 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 (6-lb.) bone-in turkey breast

For the Mojo Sauce:

  • 1 cup (packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeds removed, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

Arrange the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Mix garlic, cumin, oil, paprika, pepper, oregano, 2 tsp. salt and finely grated zest from lemon in a medium bowl. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze out juice into spice mixture. Rub the cut lemons all over the turkey, and any remaining juice. Place lemons in cavity of turkey. Place turkey in a roasting pan, or aluminum sheet pan with parchment underneath, breast side facing up. From both edges of cavity, loosen skin from breasts, being careful not to tear skin. Using your fingers, gently spread the spice mixture under skin (reserve remaining spice mixture), then season turkey skin all over with remaining 1 tsp. salt.

Roast turkey for 20-minutes, then turn the heat down to 375 degrees F. Continue roasting, basting with remaining spice mixture and pan juices every 20 minutes, until thickest part of breast is pierced with an instant-read thermometer and reads 150–155 degrees F. Transfer turkey to a cutting board and let rest 15 minutes, where its temperature will continue to rise to 165 degrees F.

For the sauce, puree cilantro, jalapenos, garlic, oil, lime juice and salt in a blender until combined. Add mayonnaise and puree until well blended. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and chill until ready to use.

Wild Rice and Butternut Squash Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing

Serves 6

For the dressing:

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil or sunflower oil
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • Scant ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

For the salad:

  • 2 ½ cups peeled and diced butternut squash
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 ½ cups thinly sliced spinach
  • ½ cup thinly sliced leeks, both white and green parts
  • ½ cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 3 cups cooked wild rice, warmed

To make dressing, add all ingredients to a jar and use immersion blender to puree. Or whisk thoroughly by hand. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread onto a baking sheet and roast for about 25 minutes, stirring once, until fork tender. In a large bowl, combine spinach, leeks, cherries and basil. Stir in warm rice and squash, so that spinach wilts slightly from the heat. Stir dressing into salad; tossing to coat. Taste and adjust salt level if needed. Serve at room temperature.

Instant Pot Cardamom Pumpkin Cheesecake

Instant Pot Cardamom Pumpkin Cheesecake

Serves 6

For the crust:

  • 1 ¼ c. oat cereal, like Cheerios, crushed in a food processor until fine and sandy
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ½ Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger

For the cheesecake:

  • 2 (8 oz.) packages full-fat cream cheese, softened and room temperature
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp. tapioca starch
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, slightly whisked
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. cardamom

Add finely crushed Cheerios to a bowl and add the rest of crust ingredients. Stir together until combined. Press firmly into the bottom and an inch up the sides of a 6-inch push pan. Freeze until filling is ready.

To make filling, add cream cheese and brown sugar to a food processor. Pulse until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, tapioca starch and salt, stir until just combined and no streaks of pumpkin remain. Add eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom, stir until combined. Take pan out of freezer and pour filling in. Tap on counter to remove air bubbles. Set in OXO sling.

Pour 1 cup water into your Instant Pot and add trivet. Then set pan via sling onto the trivet. Fasten the sling and close lid. Set to manual, high pressure. Cook for about 25 minutes. Let Instant Pot naturally release, which will take about 20 minutes. Take lid off as soon as it is naturally released. Remove cheesecake from Instant Pot and let cool. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with homemade whipped cream and serve.


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