For our cover story, writer Lisa Shames profiled Jimmy Bannos, the Heaven on Seven patriarch and Thanksgiving dinner junkie. Bannos is a refreshing subject for many reasons; here, we discover that at home, Bannos cooks much like the rest of us -- or our grandmothers.
In his Thanksgiving arsenal: Chef Paul Prudhomme's Poultry Magic, which he uses in his stuffing; Wondra flour, whisked into his gravy along with heavy cream; and Kitchen Bouquet, a bottled seasoning sauce that fellow restaurateur Ina Pinkney turned him onto. Bannos rubs it all over his turkey; I've seen it used by a food stylist looking to add sheen to a burger.
There wasn't enough space to run all of the recipes Bannos gave us, but his turkey recipe is too much of a doozy not to share. Note that what follows is for a 25- to 28-pound turkey.
Preheat oven to 425.
Chop 1 bulb of celery, quarter 2 large onions and put those in a giant roasting pan with 2 bags of baby carrots.
Cut 2 pounds butter -- that's just the beginning -- into small squares and stuff in turkey's cavity.
Cut 1 pound butter -- there's more -- into small squares and tuck under the skin of the breast.
Massage 3 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning into the turkey.
Pour Kitchen Bouquet over turkey and massage all over skin.
Melt 3 pounds butter and pour over turkey.
Place turkey, uncovered, in oven and roast until "it gets a nice color brown, no longer than 45 minutes," Bannos says.
Then, cover with foil and continue cooking, basting every 30 minutes. Cook 15 minutes for every pound until done.
There is a reason why Thanksgiving comes but once a year. That reason is butter.