Wednesday, November 21, 2007

roast turkey

Thanksgiving is around the corner. Where to have a big thanksgiving meal is a question on everyone's mind. Here are some suggestions.

For us Americans, the display of unabashed gluttony shown on Thanksgiving holiday is surpassed by none, and this year need not, nay, must not, be any different. Just because you are in Shanghai doesn't mean you have to forgo this most glorious of holidays. On the contrary, fine restaurants across the city are offering a variety of robust Thanksgiving meals for your feasting pleasure. Admittedly dubious, the story of Thanksgiving is nonetheless a well-intentioned tale promoting harvest and good will – a time when pilgrims and Indians set aside their differences for the sake of a hearty meal, and then lived happily ever after. Today, in the best of liberal traditions, this is a non-discriminatory, non-denominational holiday, which is precisely why everyone is invited to participate in the festivities. Even *gasp* the British. If your own national loyalties are hindering you from celebrating this holiday, by all means let go of your reservations... but do be sure to make one for one of these restaurants listed below:

This year, Moon River Diner has different Thanksgiving meals at each outlet: Brilliance Mall West will have a buffet, while Pudong will do a family style dinner (one seating only). MR Jingan is having a family-style dinner on the third floor with a dessert buffet and after-dinner drinks that you can enjoy even if you do not join them for the dinner. Also, the second floor will have a "Turkey plate." If you want to take Thanksgiving home, fully-cooked turkeys (pre-order only) will be available in MRs Brilliance Mall West, Jingan and Pudong. Make it quick though, supplies are limited.

Le Bistro in Le Royal Meridien Shanghai is giving a sumptuous buffet dinner with free flow beer, soft drinks, coffee and tea for 278rmb plus a 15% service charge. For reservations call 3318 9999 ext. 7008. Available from 6pm until 10pm on Nov 22.

Zapata's has a set menu for 188rmb/per person, which includes: Champagne on arrival, traditional Pumpkin soup with crispy tortilla and spiced cream, roast turkey, bread stuffing, corn bread, roast vegetables, green peas, cranberry chutney. Additional side dishes like mashed potatoes can be arranged if you mention the request in your reservation. The dessert menu includes fudge brownies, pumpkin pie and pecan tart. Lastly, Zapata's will give away complimentary bottles of tequila for parties of 10 people and more! For large parties, the restaurant can organize customized drinks options. For reservations call 138 1866 9754 or mail to

Both sasha's and their new steakhouse (and then some) expansion prime are hosting Thanksgiving menus from Nov 22 to 25. The later is offering a traditional four course turkey dinner (with steak options) for 488rmb. They're serving a glass of champagne on arrival and groups of four receive a complimentary bottle of wine.

Mural bar is offering a choice of two Thanksgiving set menus. All sets include appetizers, soup, main course, dessert, coffee / tea. Every two set meals purchased receives a free bottle of sparkling white wine or red wine. Set A costs 198 rmb/person, 380 rmb/two people. Set B costs 268 rmb/person and 500 rmb/2 people. Dinner is served between 6:30pm and 10:30pm. Live Latin Jazz Band from 9:30pm.

If you are looking for more upscale dining, Jean Georges is offering an extensive menu of delights at 888 rmb/person, with dinner starting at 6pm. Options will include: sea scallop tartar, lemon zest, sea urchin, and spiced oil; sweet potato ravioli, brown butter vinaigrette with sage; sauteed foie gras, marinated strawberries, sesame, horseradish; slowly cooked salmon, black truffle mashed potatoes, and black truffle vinaigrette; roast organic turkey, chestnut-sourdough stuffing; Thanksgiving dessert tasting.

Catering: Finally, if you are looking to enjoy the holiday with your loved ones at home this year, there is yet another option. My friends and I have ordered our Thanksgiving feast from The Party People catering service. The Party People will deliver free of charge within the second ring, and have fantastic Thanksgiving menus serving six to eight people for 1200rmb. Call 86 21 5477 0998 or visit

It's that time of year again! Time to hunt out the biggest turkey, dig out grandma's pumpkin-pie recipe and gather family and friends around the table to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday. Or, you can sit back, relax and let someone else do the hard work for you at one of the places offering special menus around Moscow -- but be warned that you might have to book your space in advance.

Hemingway's is offering a four-course dinner for 1,400 rubles from Thursday through Sunday. The meal starts with a pumpkin soup, made to a traditional southwestern recipe, followed by a Waldorf salad. The roast turkey comes with grilled green beans, baby carrots, homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce. The dinner is rounded off with pumpkin pie, served with a brandy butter sauce. A glass of red or white wine is included in the price of the meal. Special drinks offers are also promised, along with a kids' entertainer on Sunday.

The Apartment is also running a set meal on Thursday for 2,500 rubles per person, starting at 7 p.m. On the menu are all the classics such as roast turkey with gravy and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. A full program of entertainment is promised: cartoons for the kids and a retrospective of classic games for American-football fans. Guests are even to be offered the opportunity to choose the cut of turkey they want in the kitchen. Each guest also receives a cocktail on the house.

The Starlite Diner promises a homey Thanksgiving dinner at its three American-style diners. A traditional, three-course meal consisting of freshly baked turkey, Caesar salad and pumpkin pie, coffee, tea and sodas goes for 875 rubles at the Universitet branch and 975 rubles at Oktyabrskaya and Mayakovskaya; children under 12 pay 450 or 475 rubles. The dinner is to run from 2 p.m. "until the Turkey is gone."
Combine first 4 ingredients in bottom of a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Remove and discard giblets and neck from turkey. Rinse the turkey with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey.

Combine cheese, ¼ cup sage, butter, minced garlic, ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; rub mixture under the loosened skin and over breast and drumsticks. Rub turkey skin with cut sides of lemon halves; squeeze juice into turkey cavity. Place lemon halves in turkey cavity; tie legs together with kitchen string.

Place turkey, breast side up, on vegetable mixture in pan. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes, and pour 2 cups broth over turkey. Tent turkey breast loosely with foil. Bake an additional 30 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 325° (do not remove turkey from oven). Bake for 1½ hours or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 180°, basting every 30 minutes. Remove turkey from pan. Cover and let stand 30 minutes; discard skin.

Place a large zip-top plastic bag inside a 4-cup glass measure. Pour drippings through a sieve into bag; discard solids. Let drippings stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into a medium bowl, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Add enough of remaining chicken broth to drippings to equal 3 cups.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shallots; sauté for 1 minute. Add sherry; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to ½ cup (about 5 minutes). Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon sage and cook for 30 seconds. Add reserved drippings; bring to a boil.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and water, stirring well with a whisk. Stir flour mixture into drippings mixture; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve gravy with turkey.

Note: For a handsome garnish, roast lemon halves and peeled shallots at 425° for 20 minutes; arrange with sage sprigs on the turkey platter.


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