What to Cook This Weekend

It’s not too early to test-drive your turkey strategy for November.

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By Sam Sifton

Good morning. The gravy-stained denizens of food media have been cooking turkeys and baking pies for weeks now, testing new recipes and trying out different techniques for keeping stuffing moist and mashed potatoes warm. Thanksgiving is coming. It’s their job — my job! — to make this one better than the last, the most delicious one yet.

I’ll have much to say about that in the coming weeks, as the holiday gets closer. But today, I offer you this: The most important thing you can do to ensure a great Thanksgiving meal is to not cook something for the very first time on Nov. 24.

So why not roast a turkey this weekend using a recipe you’ve been curious about but have never made? We roast chicken all the time, as well as beef tenderloin, pork butt and cauliflower. I think we ought to normalize turkey roasting outside of the holidays. That can be in service of Thanksgiving, yes, but it supports our belief in the delicious as well.

Give this Jamaican-spiced roast turkey a try and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Or this Cantonese-style turkey. Or this wild steamed and roasted number we learned from Jacques Pépin.

I love the slow-roasted turkey with apple gravy (above) that Padma Lakshmi brought us. That would be an ace introduction to October. So would this easy roast turkey with orange and sage, should you crave simplicity. (Imagine the leftovers next week: the lunchtime sandwiches, the nursery-food dinners à la king.)

No? You’re not ready yet to fully embrace fall? I get that. It was annoying enough that there were Halloween supplies in the supermarket last weekend. See if you can’t find some plums, then, and make this incredible focaccia with herbed-honey plums and prosciutto for dinner. (I like to pair that one with a baked Brie.)

You could make a Carolina chicken bog on Saturday, let it cure until Sunday and then reap heady rewards. And if you do? Have artichoke carbonara for dinner on Saturday night, after you prepare the bog. Either could become a standby recipe for you, a once-a-month friend.

Alternatively, consider roasted chicken thighs with garlicky cucumber yogurt; a one-pot vegetable biryani; or these bonkers good crispy mushroom tacos. And maybe a Norwegian apple cake for dessert?

There are thousands more recipes to cook this weekend, all awaiting you on New York Times Cooking — and we provide additional inspiration and instruction on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. Yes, you need a subscription to access the recipes. Subscriptions support our work. They allow it to continue. Please, if you haven’t done so already, would you consider subscribing today? Thank you.

If you run into problems with the technology, please write for help: [email protected] Someone will get back to you. And you can write me if you’re exercised about anything, or simply want to say hello: [email protected] I read every letter sent.

Now, it’s a far cry from anything to do with parsnips or farro, but please read this riveting portrait of a single mother struggling to raise her son to be a good man, by Jose A. Del Real for The Washington Post.

Holy cow, check out these images of Seoul’s wild-animal cafes in The New York Times Magazine.

And you should spend a little time with Ian Frazier’s account of the year of the spotted lanternfly, in The New Yorker.

Finally, the saxophonist and composer Pharoah Sanders died last week at 81. Here’s his 1969 song “The Creator Has a Master Plan,” 32 minutes of good karma and maybe the start of your turkey-roasting playlist. I’ll see you on Sunday.

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