I love the idea of a whole roast turkey sitting elegantly on the holiday table, but a nicely arranged platter of sliced portions is equally as lovely and so much easier to serve.
We are bombarded by images of the Thanksgiving table roast turkey proudly displayed in the center with a grinning host standing over it carving knife in hand. As lovely as the vision is it does pose some obvious serving challenges.
The biggest challenge is trying to carve the turkey at the table. As iconic as the image of carving at the table has become, it has never worked very well for me.
So I abandoned the notion of having to present the whole turkey at the table and instead adopted the idea of serving it sliced and arranged on a large platter. And I haven’t regretted the decision by any stretch of the imagination.
Here is how I carve and present my Thanksgiving Turkey:
Step 1: After roasting the turkey to perfection, allow the roast turkey to stand for 30 minutes. This allows all of those fabulous juices to settled into the meat.
Step 2: Remove the legs. Pull the leg away from the body until the thighbone joint pops and cut away. Repeat on other side and set aside.
Step 3: Remove the wings. Pull the wings away from the body and cut way at the shoulder joint and set aside.
Step 4: Remove the breast meat. With the carving knife placed against the breastbone, slice downward following the curve of the breast to remove each lobe. Repeat on opposite side and set aside.
CUTTING INTO SERVINGS
Step 5: Place the drumstick and thigh on the cutting board. To carve the thigh meat, separate the thigh and drumstick at the joints. Set drumsticks aside these will be served whole.
Step 6: Remove the bone from the thigh by sliding knife along the side and bottom of the bone to separate it from the meat.
Step 7: Slice the thigh meat into serving portions.
Step 8: Place the breast lobes on the cutting board and slice the breast against the grain. Slide the carving knife under the slices to keep them together and set aside.
ASSEMBLING THE PLATTER
Step 9: When I am assembling the platter, I like to keep the dark meat together and the white meat together making it easy for my guests to find their favorite slices of meat.
I place the drumsticks and sliced thigh meat at one end of the platter with the slices of each breast lobe fanned out on either side of the platter and the wings arranged in the center of the breast meat. Garnish with a some bundles of herbs for a Thanksgiving platter anyone would envy.