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The Dish: 3 Alternative Holiday Birds

Plan B for the Shanghai turkey shortage

 

As some of you may or may not have heard, Shanghai is on the verge of a Thanksgiving catastrophe. Due to forces beyond our control, it appears there will be a shortage of turkeys this year and what birds are coming in will be considerably more expensive than Thanksgivings past. It’s time to start looking at some alternative fowl to roast while we give our thanks for this year’s bountiful harvest, even if said bounty happens to be from your local wet market.

 

Goose

The most festive choice would be to roast a goose. They’re undeniably delicious, present the same “oohs” and “ahhs” at the dinner table and, best of all, are considerably easier to find here in China. You can almost always preorder a fresh goose from any of the bigger wet markets around town, cutting down the whole hassle of a slow defrost and having to empty out your fridge days before your dinner.

 

There are plenty of detailed recipes for cooking a goose online, but the key thing to keep in mind is to allow for the delicious fat to render out while roasting. Not only does the fat baste the bird from the inside while cooking, it’s also possibly the best medium to roast your holiday vegetables.

 

Squab

Another great alternative is to go small with squabs for the whole family. These little feathered friends can be purchased all over the city and take mere minutes to crisp and cook through in any hot oven.

 

Similar to duck, the meat is dark and rich in portions that leave you more time to dedicate to your sides. I like to allocate about one-and-a-half squab per person, letting the diners at the table battle it out gladiator-style for second helpings.

 

Chicken

Safe but always reliable is a great roast chicken. I know, I know. It may not have the drama that you’re looking for on a holiday table but I have yet to meet a single soul who doesn’t get down for a delicious roasted chicken.

 

They’re affordable, pair well with nouveau, classic or any assortment of accoutrements and, even with brining, takes less than a day of prep. If you’re really strapped for time, you can always call up Wishbone and get one delivered to your door.

 

In many ways, this season’s turkey woes are a blessing. I love a brown-skinned, juice-dribbling piece of turkey thigh as much as the next guy but this year, the odds are stacked against you. Give these other fowl a chance. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

 

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