The Butcher's Case

Fleisher's Official Blog

You have seen our salacious emails, our pun-ny, bawdy Ts and perhaps you have noticed how we try to slip a double entendre into everything we write but you ain’t seen nothing yet. Check out these vintage Valentine’s Day Cards (the link was sent to us by our friend Paul Lukas who ALWAYS knows what we like, thank you Paul!), we thought we held the title on pairing meat and love/sex until we got a glimpse of these.

Our favorite is the little butcher boy with a grinder (admit it, grinders are just good fodder for a naughty joke) because it also brings to mind one of our favorite rude blues songs by Lil Johson recorded in 1937.

You’ll understand why this is one of the great butcher songs when you read the lyrics or listen.

Got out late last night, in the rain and sleet
Tryin’ to find a butcher that grind my meat
Yes I’m lookin’ for a butcher
He must be long and tall
If he want to grind my meat
Cause I’m wild about my meat balls

A no good man but he’s so doggone stout
Before he starts to grindin’ he’s all worn out
Somebody send me a butcher
He must be long and tall
If he want to grind my meat
Cause I’m wild about my meat balls

He can clean my fish, even pick my crabs
But what I need is my meat ground bad
Yes I’m lookin’ for a butcher
He must be long and tall
If he want to grind my meat
Cause I’m wild about my meat balls

You can have your roast chicken and your good lamb stew
But for my choice them old meat balls will do
Somebody send me a butcher
He must be long and tall
If he want to grind my meat
Cause I’m wild about my meat balls

Now look here papa, don’t try to stall
If you can’t grind a long time, don’t grind at all
Yes I’m lookin’ for a butcher
He must be long and tall
If he want to grind my meat
Cause I’m wild about my meat balls

YOU CAN'T BEAT OUR MEAT

We’ve had an amazing year at Fleisher’s — we’ve published a book, opened a new store and made new friends and customers. It’s been quite a whirlwind but yet an incredible experience for all of us. As we get ready for our annual staff training, we’d like to hear from you, our loyal customers, about what you love and hate about our customer service.

This is the time of year to let it fly. If Josh took some extra time to tell you how to cook your chops and that made you happy, we’d love to know about it. If one of our staff mistakenly made a salacious sausage comment that left you gasping… please let us know. Faster service? Shorter lines? Free samples? We already know that you can’t beat our meat but if we can make your time in our shop more enjoyable, tell us how.

In fact, we take our customer service so seriously that we’ll award a $100 gift certificate to the customer with the most engaged and thoughtful recommendation about how we can serve you better — and that’s no baloney!

Submit your comments by January 5, 2012. We’ll select a winner by the end of January. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to serving you even better in the New Year!

We know you, you’re the one that always has to go that extra mile. You make your own pie pastry with lard AND butter; you make your own pumpkin pie filling (no cans for you!) and a roast that isn’t covered or smothered or sauced just isn’t a roast. So here’s a couple of recipes we like and trust. Enjoy!

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/horseradish-crusted-roast-beef

Horseradish Beef Roast

We also like this recipe by Scott Peacock in Better Homes & Gardens for an Herb-and-Garlic Crusted Pork Roast with a warm plum compote. His accompanying cheddar biscuits sound divine and super easy.

http://www.bhg.com/recipes/from-better-homes-and-gardens/december-2011-recipes/#page=20

Herb-and-Garlic Crusted Pork Roast

There are few things more stunning at a holiday table then a beautiful roast (perhaps with the exception of my Uncle Irv, his ties could have stopped traffic!). It is truly the centerpiece of the meal and should therefore be given the respect that it deserves. Does that mean you should gussy it up with sauces and rubs. Nope. Treat your roast just as you would a steak or a chop—salt, heat and time, that’s all you need (oh yeah, and a meat thermometer).

Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Always bring your roast to room temperature before you cook it.

2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

3. Prepare a heavy roasting pan with a rack that fits snugly in the bottom. If you don’t have a rack, get creative: use “canoe-shaped” marrow bones (mmm, marrow butter) or layer vegetables like carrots and parsnips to form a stand for your roast.

4. Evenly coat the roast with a thick layer of coarse salt, we recommend sea salt but kosher salt works as well. Don’t get too fancy here, finishing salts like Maldon and smoked salts are wonderful but this is not their show. Place the roast on your rack.

5. Place the roast in the lower third of the oven. We suggest about 15 min. per pound (that’s standard) but keep an eye on the prize because depending on your oven, whether the roast is bone-in or boneless etc. it could cook more slowly or a whole lot FASTER. Use your meat thermometer to gauge approximate time to finish—you are looking to pull it out at 115-120 degrees.

(For bone-in roasts: if the tips of the bones are burning cover with foil, you can always tent your roast with foil as well if the top is getting too brown, just decrease cooking time)

6. When using a meat thermometer carefully insert the tip into the thickest part of the roast but do not touch the bone. It is always better to remove the roast too early than too late. You can always continue to cook a single piece for the guest that insists that they like their meat like shoe leather (their loss).

7. Transfer the roast to a cutting board and let rest for at least 20 minutes.

8. Discard the string and thinly slice the roast, cutting between the bones if bone-in. Pile bones on serving platter and let your guests fight over them. If you also roasted marrow bones this is a good time to pull out the bread, a marrow spoon (doesn’t everyone have one?) and pass those around as well.

9. Enjoy.

10. The unsliced portion of the roast can be refrigerated for up to 3 days (though it will not look as pretty it will still be delicious). The sliced beef can be refrigerated for 24 hours.

 

 

 

Quick Turkey Gravy

Makes 4 cups, about 12 servings

After the turkey has finished  cooking, remove it from the pan and carefully pour the fat out, retaining the juices and browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Set it over two burners on the stove on a medium heat. Pour in:

4 cups of chicken or turkey stock

Bring the mixture to a simmer, all the while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to help deglaze the pan. Reduce the heat and cook slowly for 5 minutes. Mix to a smooth paste:

¼ cup of water
3 tablespoons of cornstarch

Whisking constantly, gradually pour this mixture into the simmering broth, then cook for 1 minute. Season to taste with:

Sherry, port, Madeira or white wine
Salt and pepper

Serve with turkey.

Bread Stuffing with Sausage, Nuts and Dried Fruit

Makes about 12 cups

High quality sausage is the key to this recipe. Roast nuts (pecans or walnuts) in a 350-degree oven until fragrant — 6 to 8 minutes. These burn easily so keep an eye on them!

1 pound of sage breakfast sausage (removed from casings or in bulk) crumbled

6 Tablespoons (3/4 of a stick) unsalted butter
1 large onion chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
4 medium celery stalks chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
½ teaspoon each of dried sage, dried thyme and dried marjoram
½ teaspoon of black pepper
½ cup of fresh parsley
2 cups of walnuts or pecans, toasted and roughly chopped (soak in warm water until soft after roasting)
1 cup of dried apricots, currants or raisins, chopped
1 teaspoon of salt
12 cups of dried or day-old French bread cubed (1 lb. or 1 loaf)
1 cup chicken or turkey stock
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

Cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Discard the fat. In the same pan, melt the butter.

Add onions and celery and cook until they are soft and translucent, 6 to 7 minutes. Add dried herbs and pepper and cook for another minute. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage; add the parsley, nuts, fruit and salt and mix to combine. Add the bread cubes to the bowl.

Whisk the stock together with the eggs and pour the mixture over the bread crumbs. Gently toss to distribute the ingredients evenly (use your hands).

Place the stuffing in a casserole dish, cover with foil and heat until the stuffing is hot. If you have a microwave, you can heat stuffing for 6 to 8 minutes or heat in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Spoon the hot stuffing into the turkey (usually will hold 4 to 5 cups) until loosely packed. Secure the skin over the cavity opening with skewers and roast the turkey. Using a thermometer, the stuffing should read 165 degrees inside the turkey. If the stuffing is not hot enough when the turkey is done, remove the stuffing and continue to heat it in the oven. For the rest of the stuffing, dot the top with butter, cover with foil, and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to cook for 15 minutes or until a golden crust is formed and it is done.

Brining Solution for Turkey

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

This recipe calls for a soak of 12  hours. Increase salt and sugar levels if you want to soak your bird for a shorter length of time. Remember brined meat tends to cook faster!

Remove the giblets from the turkey and rinse the bird, inside and out. In a clean bucket or tub, mix the following ingredients with six gallons of tap water until the salt dissolves:

2 cups of table salt or 4 cups of kosher salt (2 lbs. of salt; for Diamond Kosher, use 2 cups / Morton Kosher use 1 ½ cups)
2 cups of sugar
A few bay leaves
Some peppercorns lightly crushed
2 gallons of water

Submerge the turkey in the solution for 12 hours. Put the turkey in a very cool place for 4 to 6 hours. The turkey’s temperature should not rise above 38 degrees. If it is a warm day, place the turkey and solution in a garbage bag and place in a cooler filled with ice. If it is a cold day, a garage or trunk of a car should be fine. Do not leave the turkey unattended outside or a bear or neighborhood dog may be the lucky recipient of your Thanksgiving dinner.

Remove the turkey from the brine. Do NOT reuse brine! Thoroughly rinse inside and out, then pat the skin and cavity dry. Your turkey is now ready for roasting.

(For a more intense brine, boil ingredients with one gallon of water, then add five gallons of cold tap water. When water is cool, submerge the turkey.)

Serves 12-14

½ cup canola or olive oil
2 Tablespoons coarse salt (sea salt or Kosher salt)
1 Tablespoon of sweet Hungarian paprika
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons of minced garlic
3 Tablespoons of fresh or 2 Tablespoons of dried herbs (we like sage and thyme but rosemary and dill are wonderful as well)
2 teaspoons of freshly ground pepper (approx.)
1 whole turkey (12-14 lbs.) for smaller birds check doneness after 1½ hours

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.

Wash your bird and remove the giblets from the cavity. Salt and pepper the cavity and if you are not stuffing the bird toss some chopped onion and celery into the cavity. Let the turkey come to room temperature, which will take at least 30 minutes.

IF YOU HAVE BRINED YOUR BIRD, BE WARNED THAT BRINED MEAT TENDS TO COOK FASTER!

Place the turkey in a large roasting pan on a rack and generously rub the oil mixture all over the entire bird.

Roast the turkey for 20 minutes, then baste with pan juices and/or oil mixture. Tent the bird with foil and lower the heat to 350 degrees and continue to roast for approximately 15 minutes per pound of turkey.

Check the temperature at this point by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The thermometer should read 150 degrees. (If you don’t have a thermometer, insert a skewer or sharp thin knife into the thigh. If the juices run clear, the turkey is done.) Check the temp every 10 minutes.

If the turkey isn’t ready after 2 hours, baste again (add water or white wine to the bottom of the pan if it is dry) and continue to check every 10 minutes. Remember to adjust the time for smaller or larger birds (or heritage birds, which cook faster) and use your meat thermometer. It is the most accurate way to tell if your turkey is done.

Remove turkey from the oven when a thermometer stuck into the turkey’s thigh reads 150 degrees or the juices run clear. If the joints show some redness, this should not be a concern.

Keep the turkey covered in foil and a slightly damp kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minute before carving and serving. The turkey will continue to cook up to 160 degrees — the optimal point.

I have so many dishes to make! How do I know what to cook first?

Make a list. Figure out how long each dish takes to cook and write them down in descending order, from the most time-consuming to the least. That may sound like obvious advice, but you’ll find that having a list to refer to really helps to avoid confusion.

Some recipes call for sweet potatoes and some call for yams. What’s the difference?

A true yam is a starchy African root vegetable that is rarely available in the United States. The term is often used, however, for orange-fleshed American sweet potatoes (the most common kind), to distinguish them from the less common pale-yellow-fleshed variety. Generally, American recipes that call for yams, red-skinned sweet potatoes, tan-skinned sweet potatoes, dark orange sweet potatoes, or just sweet potatoes are all talking about the same thing.

Do I have to rinse the bird before I prep it?

Yes, inside and out with cold water. Then pat it dry. And don’t forget to pull out the giblet packet that’s usually tucked into the neck cavity.

How do I tell if the turkey’s right side up?

Most recipes call for roasting the turkey breast side up. When it’s in this position, the broad, curved breast bone will be facing up and the wings will be close to or touching the bottom of the pan.

What’s the ideal temperature for roasting the turkey?

It depends on the recipe. Unless you have a standard method that you always use, it’s a good idea to follow a recipe’s instructions precisely when it comes to brining, roasting times, and temperatures. See the Fleisher’s Was roasting handout.

How do I know when my turkey’s done?

Roasting times depend on a number of factors and the traditional “until the juices run clear” test is not very accurate. For instance, if you’re cooking an organic turkey, the meat may stay pink even after it’s done. The best way to be assured of a perfect bird is to use a meat thermometer and take the turkey out of the oven at 150 degrees.

My gravy is often lumpy. What am I doing wrong?

Gravy is made by combining flour or cornstarch and fat (usually either butter or the fat separated from the pan drippings) and cooking the paste (called a roux), then adding liquid (usually chicken broth or the liquid separated from the pan drippings). Be sure to add the liquid slowly and whisk constantly to avoid lumps. To fix lumpy gravy, put it in the blender on high for about a minute.

My turkey is a complete disaster — I can’t even figure out what’s wrong!

When all else fails, you can always call the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line at 1-800-BUTTERBALL. A team of experts, available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout November and December (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thanksgiving day), will talk  you through all your struggles with the big bird.

I have the same problem every year: By the time I get everything on the table, some items are ice cold. What can I do?

This is the eternal cook’s dilemma, and there’s no perfect solution. One way to stack the deck in your favor is to prepare as much as possible ahead of time and then reheat things just before mealtime. This takes advantage of the fact that the turkey needs to “rest” after roasting for approximately 30 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. If you don’t have a microwave and you need to reheat baked items such as potato gratin, you might need to stick them in the oven during the last half-hour or so of turkey roasting. But otherwise, the resting time should probably be sufficient to heat microwave and stovetop items.

Reheat the denser items first, and start as soon as the turkey comes out of the oven. Turn the oven off (the residual heat from roasting will keep it warm). Remove the stuffing from the bird to a bowl, cover the bowl, and put it in the oven. Transfer the turkey to a platter, tent it with foil, and put it in a warm corner of the kitchen. Then start reheating items such as extra stuffing, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes. When those are done, cover them with foil and put them in the oven. (If you run out of room, the top of the stove, most likely warm form the vented oven heat, can handle overflow.) Then heat the other vegetables. At the last minute, put the bread into the oven to warm slightly.

Just how do you know when your turkey is done? If you’re using an oven-safe meat thermometer, insert it into the thigh prior to placing the turkey in the oven and leave it in while the turkey is roasting. Position the thermometer so it can be read while the turkey is in the oven.

When using an instant-read meat thermometer, do not leave the thermometer in the turkey during roasting. Insert it into the thigh and/or stuffing to take the temperature and then remove it from the bird.

Either way, the tip of the meat thermometer should be placed in the thigh muscle just above and beyond the lower part of the thighbone but not touching the bone, and pointing toward the body. For the stuffing temperature, the tip of the thermometer should be in the center of the body cavity.

Remove the turkey from the oven when the temperature reaches 150 degrees. It should rest 30 minutes before carving. Tent your bird with foil and after half an hour the turkey should reach 160 degrees.

The temperature of the stuffing should read 165 degrees. If the stuffing does not read 165 degrees but the thigh does, remove the stuffing from the cavity and continue to heat it while turkey rests.

Can I use raw ingredients in my stuffing, i.e. sausage, veggies, etc.?

No. Use only cooked ingredients in stuffing — i.e. sautéed vegetables, cooked meats and seafood (oysters).

Should I heat my stuffing before I place it in the turkey?

Yes. This is a must. If you do not heat your stuffing before stuffin’ your turkey with it, it will never come to the proper temp in time. Your turkey will dry out while you wait for you r stuffing to reach 165 degrees. Stuff your turkey using a measuring cup if it is too hot to handle.

Can I stuff my turkey the night before to save time?

Only if you wish to poison your guests. In other words, DEFINITELY NOT. Stuffing the bird the night before would allow dangerous bacteria to grow. Place prepared stuffing in the turkey just before roasting. Do not stuff the turkey the night before.

How much stuffing should I place in my turkey?

Stuff both neck and body cavities of the turkey, allowing ½ to ¾ cup of stuffing per pound of turkey. Do not pack stuffing tightly in turkey.

How do I keep stuffing in the bird once I’ve stuffed it?

Return legs to original tucked position, if untucked for rinsing or stuffing. Also you can use butcher’s twine to hold the legs in position and skewers to cover the cavity with the skin. See helpful handout.

Help! I can’t fit all my stuffing in the bird! What should I do?

Use a cook method that allows the stuffing to cook along with the turkey in a separate container. Remember! Do not stuff turkeys when cooking on an outdoor grill or water smoker or when using fast cook methods like high heat roasting where the turkey gets done before the stuffing.

Brining Solution for Turkey

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

This recipe calls for a soak of 12 to 18 hours. Increase salt and sugar levels if you want to soak your bird for a shorter length of time. Remember brined meat tends to cook faster!

Remove the giblets from the turkey and rinse the bird, inside and out. In a clean bucket or tub, mix the following ingredients with six gallons of tap water until the salt dissolves:

2 cups of table salt or 4 cups of kosher salt (2 lbs. of salt; for Diamond Kosher, use 2 cups / Morton Kosher use 1 ½ cups)
2 cups of sugar
A few bay leaves
Some peppercorns lightly crushed
2 gallons of water

Submerge the turkey in the solution for 12 to 18 hours. Put the turkey in a very cool place for 4 to 6 hours. The turkey’s temperature should not rise above 38 degrees. If it is a warm day, place the turkey and solution in a garbage bag and place in a cooler filled with ice. If it is a cold day, a garage or trunk of a car should be fine. Do not leave the turkey unattended outside or a bear or neighborhood dog may be the lucky recipient of your Thanksgiving dinner.

Remove the turkey from the brine. Do NOT reuse brine! Thoroughly rinse inside and out, then pat the skin and cavity dry. Your turkey is now ready for roasting.

(For a more intense brine, boil ingredients with one gallon of water, then add five gallons of cold tap water. When water is cool, submerge the turkey.)

Do I wash my turkey after I brine it?

Yes. Rinse and pat dry inside and out.

My brining solution has turned pink after I brined my turkey. Is that ok?

Yes.

How do I keep my turkey cold while brining it?

You can keep it outside in the garage, shed or car trunk if it is cold out. The turkey’s temperature must never rise above 38 degrees. If that doesn’t work for you, place the turkey in a garbage bag in a cooler. Pack ice around the bag, fill the bag with brine, knot the bag and brine away.

I over brined my turkey. What do I do?

Soak your turkey in cold water for a couple hours.

Is it worth brining my turkey?

Absolutely! It makes any turkey moist and delicious and it is so easy to do!

Will my turkey suck if I don’t brine it?

Nope. All of Fleisher’s birds have been raised with one thing in mind — GREAT TASTE! So even if you don’t brine, a little salt and pepper, some herbs and lots of heat will make a great meal.

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