November 2013: United States
Official Language(s): Technically, the U.S. does not have an official language. However, English has acquired official status in 28 of the 50 states. Hawaiian is an official language in the state of Hawaii.
Some Other Languages Spoken: The U.S. population includes over 200 immigrant languages, including Amharic, Arabic, Burmese, French, Khmer, Laotian, Mandarin, Nepali, Polish, Somali, Spanish, Tigrinya.
Ethnic Groups: white 79.96%, black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61%
The U.S., often referred to as a “melting pot”, has a cuisine characterized by the fusion of various ingredients and methods from around the world to recreate existing dishes or develop new ones. The U.S. has borrowed hot dogs and hamburgers from Germany, pasta and pizza from Italy, and various other traditions and ingredients from other countries. Much like other nations, the U.S. also has distinct differences in regional cuisines. New England is known for it’s chowders and seafood, the West includes more Mexican and Latin influences, the South has more Cajun and Creole influences, while the midwest is known for it’s simple, hearty dishes that utilize locally grown foods. Of course, different states and smaller regions are also known for certain dishes or styles of cooking.
Recipe: Roasted Turkey
In honor of Thanksgiving, this month’s recipe is for a roasted turkey. Whether deep fried, roasted, grilled, or smoked, a turkey often takes center stage at Thanksgiving dinners. Many turkey recipes call for a wet or dry brine prior to cooking or a stuffing inside of the turkey, with additional aromatics to be added prior to roasting. The following recipe calls for a wet brine. Pair it with your favorite gravy and plenty of sides to complete your Thanksgiving meal.
1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water
For the aromatics:
1 red apple, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.