The Emmy Award–winning chef and TV personality helps AARP celebrate National Family Caregivers Month by serving up three special holiday recipes and dishing advice on how to best enjoy the season, even if it looks — and feels — different this year because of the coronavirus.
"I'm inspired by AARP's advocacy for caregivers because I know firsthand how tough the job is — I've been one myself and have grown close to those we've been lucky enough to hire in our family,” Zimmern says. “Knowing the holidays may be difficult for caregivers this year, I'm excited to share simple ways to prepare, eat well and create memories — no matter how or where you're celebrating."
Joining Zimmern in the virtual kitchen is AARP Board Chair Annette Franqui, who will offer information on the support available to family caregivers during the pandemic.
Follow along with Zimmern as he demonstrates a recipe from his tasty Thanksgiving feast. If you'd like to make the dishes at home, find the recipes and step-by-step instructions below.
Stuffed Roasted Boneless Turkey Breast, Pan Gravy
- 12–14 chestnuts
- 1 cup celery, minced
- 1 cup onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
- 4 ounces chicken livers
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 6 cups dried bread cubes for stuffing (store-bought seasoned varieties are fine)
- 2 teaspoons dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- One whole 4-pound (roughly) boneless breast of turkey (both breast lobes attached, skin on)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 6 sage leaves, finely chopped
- 1 recipe stuffing (see below)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Butchers string/cooking twine for securing breast
Make the stuffing
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Make an incision about 1/8-inch deep through each chestnut shell, just into the flesh of the nut, and work your way almost around its circumference. After slitting the shells, transfer the chestnuts to a rimmed baking pan and roast them for about 35 minutes. While the chestnuts are hot, remove and discard each shell and the papery skin. Chop the chestnuts.
Mince the celery, onion and parsley. Set aside.
Mince the chicken livers very finely.
Combine the chestnuts, celery, onion, parsley, liver, butter, cream, bread cubes and spices in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Prepare the turkey
Place the turkey skin side down on a cutting board and slice open the middle of each breast, cutting away from the center. Your knife will be parallel to the cutting board, slicing toward the outer edges of the roast. You are opening up the breast meat to even out the thickness of each breast. The new meat flaps should open up from the middle of each breast like pages of a book folding out to each side.
Season with the thyme, sage, salt and pepper.
Place stuffing onto the breast, and fold the edges of the turkey “envelope” over the stuffing. You should have a “football” of turkey.
Flip to skin side up. Roll and tie turkey with butcher's string.
Rub the turkey with butter and sprinkle with paprika and sea salt.
Place the turkey on a rack fitted into a large pan.
Roast at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Raise temperature to 400 degrees and continue roasting until internal temperature of the meat is 160 degrees. Keep an eye on your roast — this may not take as long as you think.
Let rest for 10 minutes, slice meat, and serve with gravy.
I prepare this days before; in fact, I always have some on hand in my freezer for myriad uses.
- 5 pounds poultry bones or 2–3 pounds chicken wings
- 3 quarts rich turkey or chicken broth
- 2 onions, sliced
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- Sprig of fresh sage
- 2 bay leaves
Toss the bones or wings, carrots, onion, celery and herbs in a large bowl with 2 to 3 tablespoons of canola oil.
Put all ingredients into a roasting pan and cook at 350 degrees for 90 minutes or longer, until wings/bones are well browned.
Place roasting pan on stovetop over low heat and add the broth.
Bring to a strong simmer, massaging the bottom of the pan to release all the sticky bits. This should take 10 minutes.
Place all the contents in the roasting pan into a small stock pot; cover and simmer for an hour. Remove lid and simmer for another 30 to 45 minutes, until you have 2 quarts of liquid left.
Strain well. This is strong broth for gravies, sauces and other uses. (It's too strong for soup but has a hundred uses in the kitchen.) I freeze this in 2-cup batches for easy use whenever I need it.
To make gravy: In a saucepan over low heat, cook 2 tablespoons of flour with 2 tablespoons butter for a few minutes. Add in 2 cups of hot turkey or chicken broth, in thirds, whisking as you go until gravy thickens.
Season with salt and pepper. Now you can make as much gravy as you need for any dish.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Smoked Brown Sugar and Goat Butter
- 2–3 pounds sweet potatoes
- 4 oz. goat butter or more, to taste
- 1/4 cup smoked brown sugar (regular brown sugar can be used as a substitute) or more, to taste
- 2 teaspoons sea salt or more, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Wash and dry potatoes; prick all over with a fork.
Roast the potatoes on a baking tray until tender, roughly 75 to 90 minutes.
Remove potatoes from skins, add all other ingredients, combine well, and serve.
Collard Greens With Honey Potlikker
- 1 pound meaty smoked ham hocks
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and sliced
- 4 medium cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 quarts rich chicken broth
- 3 pounds collard greens, woody stems trimmed/stripped and leaves torn
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, plus more for seasoning at end
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 cup honey
Place the ham hocks, onions, garlic, honey and chicken stock into a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat; bring to a simmer. Cover and cook at a bare simmer for 2 hours. Remove ham hocks from liquid and pull bones from meaty and fatty parts, tossing the bones and connective tissue. Chop up the ham meat and return it to the pot.
Simmer the liquid. Add the greens, in batches, to wilt in the pot. Simmer for about 45 minutes. Season with freshly ground black pepper and a smidge more vinegar, to taste. To serve, scoop greens from the pot and spoon some of the potlikker (broth) into bowls.
Key Lime Tartelettes
Servings: makes one 10-inch pie, or 2 smaller pies/tartelettes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus chilling time
- 1 & 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (8 ounces)
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 8 large egg yolks
- Two 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
- 1 & 1/4 cups fresh key lime or lime juice
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Unsweetened whipped cream, for serving
- Key lime slices, for garnish (optional)
Make the crust
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk the graham cracker crumbs with the brown sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and stir until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the side of a 10-inch metal pie plate to form the crust. Bake the crust for about 10 minutes, until just set. Let cool completely.
Make the filling
In a bowl, whisk egg yolks with the condensed milk, lime juice and salt until smooth. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and transfer to the oven. Immediately lower the temperature to 325 degrees. Bake the pie for 20 to 25 minutes, until set around the edges and slightly jiggly in the center. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm (at least 6 hours or overnight).
Mound the whipped cream decoratively on the pie and garnish with key lime slices. Cut into wedges and serve, passing additional unsweetened whipped cream at the table.
This key lime pie can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in advance.