By Carly DeFilippo

ICE_AR_8-300x449When you’re an executive chef in one of the nation’s hottest food cities, holidays become just another day at work. So, who better to ask for their holiday cooking tips than the professionals who reinvent traditional dishes year after year?

ICE Culinary Arts alum Anthony Ricco leads the kitchen at Jean Georges’ Spice Market —which means infusing holiday classics with Southeast Asian flavors. Whether it’s chestnut-sausage stuffing with Chinese dates, plum-glazed ham, or turkey confit, Anthony has reinvented every classic dish several times over.

Anthony’s top tips for cooks seeking adventurous flavors?

  • Don’t be a hero. If you’ve never worked with a specific spice or aromatic before, this isn’t the day to mix things up. Use a light hand. You can always add, but you can’t take out.
  • Make time for a test run. If you’re committed to adding a new dish to the menu, try it out a week in advance. You don’t need to make a full portion, but figuring out how the dish works will save you precious time—and stress—on the big day.
  • Take chefs’ recipes with a grain of salt. When magazines come calling, restaurant chefs typically offer recipes developed in a professional kitchen for a large number of diners. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good recipe, but don’t assume it’s completely foolproof for home cooks.

As for his turkey, Anthony treats the white and dark meat separately. He starts three days ahead of time, creating a confit of the legs with exotic spices. Then, for the day of service, he roasts the breasts and serves them with strips of crispy confit turkey legs.

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Spiced Turkey Confit – Adapted from Anthony Ricco/Spice Market

Note: Recipe is designed to be prepared over the course of 3 consecutive days.

Ingredients

  • 12-14 pound turkey
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¾ cup salt (for brine)
  • Chicken fat (enough to cover turkey legs for confit), or olive oil
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 5 whole cloves
  • zest of one orange
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, smashed
  • 2 carrots, roughly cut
  • 2 potatoes, roughly cut
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3-4 sprigs thyme 

Instructions

  1. Brine turkey overnight in a mix of honey, salt and water.
  2. Rinse and pat dry. Spatchcock the bird and remove legs. Reserve breasts to roast separately.
  3. Debone the legs and season with salt and pepper. Let rest for 10 minutes, then immerse in chicken fat or olive oil with cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, orange zest, 1 sprig rosemary and smashed ginger.
  4. Cook at 225°F for 4-5 hours or until very tender. Remove from oven and let legs rest in fat for one additional day.
  5. The day of service, create a bed of root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, etc.), garlic, celery, rosemary and thyme. Top with turkey breast and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 350°F, covered with aluminum foil. After 35 minutes, remove aluminum foil and cook, uncovered, until the interior temperature of the breast reached 165°F.
  6. Meanwhile, remove turkey legs from fat, slice and sauté in a frying pan to crisp (like bacon).
  7. Serve turkey breast with crispy confit legs as garnish.

Dream of becoming an Executive Chef like Anthony? Click here to learn about ICE’s Culinary Arts program.

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