Chef Ted Lahey (Courtesy Iain Bagwell)
ATLANTA -- Executive Chef Ted Lahey from Table & Main in Roswell joined 11Alive News Today live Tuesday to offer Thanksgiving tips and answer viewer cooking questions before the big day.
An Athens native, Chef Lahey incorporates local ingredients in his dishes at Table & Main. With more than 20 years experience in the culinary field, he also calls on his extensive travels and experiences for inspiration.
MORE THANKSGIVING COVERAGE
-Black Friday Resource Guide (Deals, Maps and More)
-Thanksgiving Military Greetings
-Where to Volunteer this Holiday
-Restaurants Serving Thanksgiving Meals
-Send Holiday mail to troops
You can read the transcript from this morning's chat with Chef Lahey below.
Q: I have a small turkey (enough for two people)-when should I take it out to defrost?
Q: How long do I need to cook my 14 pd turkey for?
A: Here are a few turkey cooking guidelines: Choose a turkey that allows for 1 lb per person. The turkey will need 3-4 hours per pound to thaw preferably under slowly running water. Try cooking the turkey at 300 degrees for 15 minutes per pound for a 12-16 lb bird. When the turkey reaches 130 degrees, turn the oven up to 400 to brown the skin. Remove the bird at 167 degrees and allow to rest, covered for 20-30 minutes. (I flip the bird over during rest, breast side down, to allow the juices to settle back in). Always refer to an instant read thermometer, as oven vary, so must cooking times!
Q: What do you think about cooking a turkey in a Green Egg Grill?
A: I've never done a turkey in a big green egg, but I can only imagine it would be incredible! Low and slowcooking usually produces a tasty bird!
Q: Any tips for deep frying a turkey? Seasonings I should use and how long should it cook for about a 10 lb turkey? Thanks
A: I love a deep fried turkey! It's something that should be done carefully, however. Putting an Ice cold turkey into hot oil can be dangerous! That being said, any brine recipe will do wonders, and I've done a fried turkey rubbed with peanut butter that was incredible. As for how long, again I always resort to the thermometer. Different fryers and temperatures produce different results. Again, I start with the oil low (300) and turn up to brown at the end (350). And I can't say this enough... Be careful! Hot oil can be really dangerous.
Q: Best aromatics for the roasting pan?
A: I really stick to the the basics. My favorite aromatics include carrot, onion, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and black peppercorns.
Q: Instead of a turkey I want to cook a hen, how do you suggest I prepare it?
A: I love a good roasted hen. I like stuffing the bird with the aromatics I listed above and basting with butter.
Q: Any tips on how to prepare roast duck...my first time. Thank you.
A: Roasting duck may seem daunting, but treat it as you would any bird for roasting. However because the skin is thicker, It's important to slowly render the fat out of it for a crisp result!
Q: Suggest different sides to take the meal to a healthy level, not so much starch but keeping it earthy.
A: If you're looking to take things to a healthy level, try some of those forgottien greens like Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, and turnip greens. Most of them are in season locally and when cooked with a little onions and garlic, they fit right in with any turkey!
Q: Looking for some new veggie recipes! :)
A: I love simple roasted vegetables. Mashed potatoes are heavenly good, but if you're watching calories, try roasting different root vegetables like parsnips, turnips, celery root etc. with just a little olive oil and herbs like parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Simon and Garfunkle knew what they were talking about.
Q: I'm cooking casseroles at home, then taking them to a relative's home for dinner. Any tips for keeping them warm and safe to eat?
A: Foods left in "the danger zone", or between 40 and 140 degrees farenheit, can become unsafe to eat after four hours. Try waiting to cook the sides until the latest possible time, or try prepping everything in advance, and finish the dish in the host's oven if your drive time is substantial.
Q: Chef you mentioned the danger zone, which made me think about food left sitting out after it's served, for grazing. How long is it safe? Should it be reheated before eating?
A: Certainly erring on the side of caution, I'd reccomend reheating leftovers, but I don't want to cause a panic! If the food has been cooked properly, it should be fine to eat in under four hours from leaving the oven. That's longer than I can sit at the table!
Q: What's the easiest thing I can bring to Thanksgiving dinner that won't look easy?
A: I wouldn't worry about whether or not the sides seem easy. Sometimes the simplest things taste the best!
Q: Can you suggest a good stuffing recipe?
A: At Table & Main we do a cornbread stuffing with roasted apples and sausage, the balance of sweet and savory is something I like, but I think stuffing can be a good medium for roasted mushrooms, truffles, and other deep and earthy flavors.
Q: Cranberry sauce/relish?
A: Cranberry relish is something I avoided like the plague as a child, but there are a few recipes out there that I've enjoyed as an adult, but it's something that my family skips over, so I just open a can for that one uncle that demands it. The most important part of Thanksgiving to me is spending time with family and friends, and I believe the convenience of some dishes that allow for more time with others shouldn't be overlooked. You can obviously spice it up with some grated orange zest and ginger, but the point is to enjoy the company!