Happy Thanksgiving from Eric Ripert and me.  Here’s his French way with Turkey.

By on November 23, 2014

Eric Ripert’s Turkey Two Ways

eric riperts turkey two ways  roast breast

Several years ago, the New York Times challenged French Chef, Eric Ripert to make something new and wonderful using the venerable Thanksgiving turkey.

In his irrepressible Gallic way, Chef Ripert, consulting with this team of white toqued chefs in the kitchen of his New York restaurant, Le Bernadin, and came up with a totally French way to cook the bird.

Looking at the recipe,  I could see that it was a long process, but I felt I was up to the challenge. And so, from Avec Eric,  comes this heavenly way to cook and serve a Thanksgiving turkey.

You’ll need a game plan.  Here, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving,  I have already called Marty, at the local gourmet grocery store, Ashley Market, to order a great bird.  As usual, Marty knows he’s to separate the breast from the remainder of the bird.

Tuesday,  I’ll pick up the bird and begin the process.  First night I’ll put everything but the breast into a large stock pot,  and soak it overnight in that red wine until the morning befor the big day.

Wednesday, I’ll make the cabbage rolls as directed, and put them up until a few hours before the big party on Thanksgiving afternoon.

Then, on Thanksgiving day, I’ll roast the breast, and bake the cabbage rolls and make the giblet gravy.  Yum!

My daughter, Katherine, a better cook than I am,  will make the mashed potatoes, frizzled Brussels sprouts, Rick Rodgers famous Beet dish (recipe coming here tomorrow), and she’ll top it off with a pecan pie.  We are from the South after all.

Happy Thanksgiving day.  And enjoy the process.  It’s one of the best holidays ever.

At our house,  we’ve never eaten a turkey any other way, once we discovered Eric’s fine rendition. Yum and thanks to the French.Eric Ripert's restaurant Le Bernadin

Eric Ripert’s Turkey Two Ways

serves up to 12 people


1 (20 lb.) turkey

2 bottles Chilean red wine

1 medium sweet onion, peeled and chopped

1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped

1 celery rib, trimmed and chopped

2 clove garlic, sliced

1 bouquet garni (see note)

Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 quart chicken stock

1 large head green cabbage, cored and leaves separated (Savoy is good)cabbage rolls  eric riperts turkey two ways

1/2 pound butter to grease the pan.


  1. Remove the legs from the turkey and separate into drumsticks and thighs. Remove the backbone and cut breast in half. Remove the wingtips. (If you are not adept at butchery, ask the butcher to do this.) Reserve neck, all bones and wings for stock. cover and refrigerate the breast.
  2. Place the leg parts, wine, onion, carrot, celery, garlic and bouquet garni in a bowl. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.eric riperts turkey two ways thanksgiving-cabbage-rolls-300x225


  1. Drain the legs, thighs and vegetables, then boil the wine and bouquet garni, skimming off any foam for 15 minutes, reducing it by one-third. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, separate the turkey leg pieces and vegetables. Place 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Season the leg parts on both sides with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, add the leg parts and sear until lightly browned, about 4 minutes each side. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add remaining oil to the pot. Add the vegetables and cook until caramelized, about 8 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes, until flour is toasted. Add wine and stir to release any browned bits. Return the legs, thighs and bouquet garni to the pot, add chicken stock and simmer until meat falls off the bone, about 2 hours.
  4. Drain legs, thighs and vegetables and strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a saucepan and set aside. Place the vegetables into a bowl. When the turkey is cool enough, remove the meat from the bones and shred into a bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid.cabbage rolls
  5. Make the Cabbage Rolls. You can do this now or you can do it the day before and refrigerate until serving time. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cabbage leaves and cook until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove leaves and plunge them into ice water; drain. Trim the ends of the tough central rib from the leaves. Place a cabbage leaf on a cutting board (use two if they are small) and place 3 tablespoons of the leg meat and 1 tablespoon of the vegetables at one end. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the sides and roll up like an envelope. Repeat. (You should have about 25-20 parcels.) Place in a large buttered baking pan, seam side down. Cover with foil. Bake about 20 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a roasting pan over medium-high heat and add butter. Season the breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. When butter is sizzling, add the breasts, skin down. Sear about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast breasts for 45 minutes, or until they’ve reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees (use an instant read thermometer) basting with more butter every 5 minutes. Remove and let rest for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.


  1. To serve, bring reserved liquid to a simmer and cook until the sauce lightly coats the back of a spoon. Add a tablespoon or so of Wondra Flour. Stir and cook to make a good sauce. . Slice the breast meat. Place one cabbage parcel on each plate and fan out 3 slices of breast on top. Spoon the sauce around and serve.eric ripert cooks



About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”