A successful Thanksgiving or other holiday dinner may mean having the right tools at the right time - when it's time to carve the turkey, for example.
Specialists at Cutco, the cutlery manufacturer, offer suggestions with the following list of turkey-day tools to have ready:
-Carving knife. A thin, sharp, recessed edge on your carving knife will ensure you have smooth cutting and beautiful slices.
-Trimmer (utility knife). A trusty sidekick, the trimmer will be called on often during stuffing preparation.
-Paring knives. A kitchen staple; you may need more than one for dinner preparation.
-Carving fork. Sharp, sturdy tines anchor the meat firmly.
-Cutting boards. Don't use just any cutting surface. Polypropylene (plastic) is an edge-friendly surface that will keep your blades sharper longer. Glass, ceramic and metal cutting surfaces will dull straightedge knives quickly.
-Kitchen shears. Shears are handy for snipping everything from herbs for your stuffing, to cutting the trussing chord binding the turkey legs.
-Basting spoon. A long-handled basting spoon is used for basting the turkey but it's also good to have on hand for removing stuffing from the cavity of the turkey.
-Vegetable peeler. Peeling that mound of potatoes is a pleasure when you have a sharp and comfortable vegetable peeler on hand.
There's more than one way to carve a turkey.
Whether carving is done center stage at the table or behind-the-scenes in the kitchen, these simple steps to carving a whole bird will help you carve with confidence:
-Insert carving fork into the meaty part of the drumstick. Place carving knife between drumstick and thigh, and cut through skin to joint. Next, place carving knife between thigh and body and cut through skin to joint. Remove entire leg section by pulling outward and using the point of the knife to disjoint it. Then, separate the thigh from the drumstick.
-Disjoint wing and separate from body in the same manner.
-Make a horizontal base cut across the bottom of the breast with the carving knife.
-Starting parallel to the breastbone, slice diagonally through the meat down to the horizontal base cut. Lift off each slice, holding it between the knife and fork. Continue slicing the breast by beginning at a higher point each time until the chest bone is reached.
-Anchor the turkey firmly on the cutting board with your carving fork. Carve each breast section away from the rib cage by cutting along the bone and around the contour of the body next to the ribs.
-Lay the breast section flat on the cutting board and carve it into thin, even slices cutting against the grain of the meat.
Carving the dark meat:
-Insert carving fork into the meaty part of the drumstick. Place carving knife between drumstick and thigh, and cut through skin to joint.
-Hold thigh firmly with carving fork and cut even slices parallel to the bone.
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