Turkey Tips

Typically the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts, turkey is perhaps the most popular holiday food. To enjoy your holiday bird without all the fat, here’s what Jorjette’s chefs advise.

Buy it lean

Look for the leanest varieties. These will be the ones that haven’t been pumped up with butter or other fattening additives. Check the label: If it says “self-basting,” it’s high in fat — and you should pick another bird.

Spice up the flavor

To get the full-fledged flavor of your holiday bird without the fat, slip spices and herbs underneath the skin right against the meat. That way, you’ll get their full flavor even after the skin has been removed.

Use a fat-free baste

Basting is essential to get that tender white meat that people love. Instead of drenching the bird in high-fat pan drippings, baste it with fat-free broth. You can even baste with fruit juice for a more zesty flavor.

Skip the skin

The skin is virtually the fattiest part of any bird. Baste it with butter or pan drippings, and you worsen the situation. Do yourself a favor by leaving it on your plate.

Stuffings and Gravies

A holiday dinner wouldn’t be complete without stuffing and gravy. Here’s how to include these favorites without tipping the scale.

Skip the giblets

Although organ meats have traditionally been added to holiday stuffings, they’re high in fat and cholesterol. What’s more, they really don’t add very much to the overall flavor. Chances are, you’ll never even notice that they’re missing.

Trust broth

To moisten the stuffing, replace fatty butter, oil or pan drippings with defatted chicken broth. To boost the flavor, add fruit juices or dried herbs.

Bake it separately

Rather than cooking stuffing inside the bird, where it absorbs fat like a sponge, bake it in a separate dish. It will stay just as moist without picking up the extra calories.

Defat the pan juices

When making gravy using pan juices, pour off as much accumulated fat as possible. Then add some broth or water to the pan and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom. Transfer the liquid to a fat separator and pour off the fat-free liquid on the bottom.

Thicken with cornstarch

Rather than making gravy using the traditional butter-and-flour roux (a cooked combination of flour and fat used as a thickening agent), chefs advise thickening the gravy with cornstarch. Replace heavy cream with 1% low-fat milk to help keep the fat to a minimum.

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