DiscoverCooking Up a Storm with Al Roker
Cooking Up a Storm with Al Roker

Cooking Up a Storm with Al Roker

Author: Al Roker, TODAY

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On Cooking Up a Storm, Al Roker makes a complete holiday meal, course by course, with help from some special guests who open up about the dishes they love and the stories behind the food.
8 Episodes
On Cooking Up a Storm, Al Roker makes a complete holiday meal, course by course, with help from some special guests who open up about the dishes they love and the stories behind the food.
Mashed potatoes are a cornerstone of so many holiday meals, but just what kind to make? Smooth or lumpy, classic or with a twist … the variations are almost endless. Here to help you out with a unique take on the classic dish is the one and only Ina Garten. Beloved for her innovative takes on classic recipes that home cooks can make themselves, her long-running show on the Food Network, Barefoot Contessa, has legions of loyal fans. She’ll join us on Cooking Up a Storm with a very special holiday mashed potato recipe: Parmesan Smashed Potatoes. Parmesan Smashed PotatoesServes 6-8 3 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided1½ cups half-and-half1/4 pound unsalted butter1/2 cup sour cream1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepperPlace the potatoes and 1 tablespoon of salt in a 4-quart saucepan with cold water to cover.Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 25 to 35 minutes, until the potatoes are completely tender. Drain.In a small saucepan, heat the half-and-half and butter.Put the potatoes into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix them for a few seconds on low speed, to break them up.Slowly add the hot cream and butter to the potatoes, mixing on the lowest speed (the last quarter of the cream and butter should be folded in by hand).Fold in the sour cream, Parmesan cheese, the remaining salt, and pepper; taste for seasoning and serve immediately.If the potatoes are too thick, add more hot cream and butter.Reprinted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. Copyright © 1999 by Ina Garten. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House.For this recipe and more, go to:
One of the most beloved side dishes is also the most contested. Is it called stuffing or dressing? And what’s even the difference between the two? Quite a lot, according to chef, restaurant-owner, and cookbook author Alexander Smalls. From what kind of bread to use, to what kind of protein to add, this holiday dish can look vastly different depending on what part of the country you hail from. Smalls will walk us through how to make a special kind of dressing inspired by flavors from his own childhood: Low Country Oyster Cornbread Dressing with Crispy Slab Bacon.Low Country Oyster Cornbread Dressing with Crispy Slab BaconServes 84 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing1 cup smoked slab bacon, cut into 1-by-1/3-inch pieces2/3 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion1 large red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped1 cup grape tomatoes, halved1 cup roasted corn kernels (optional)2/3 cup finely chopped celery1½ tablespoons rubbed fresh sage1¼ teaspoon dried thyme1/2 teaspoon celery seeds5 cups crumbled day-old buttermilk cornbread 4 cups torn white bread, slightly dry toasted18-20 fat oysters (1 pint), shucked with liquor reserved2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth3 large eggs, well beaten1 teaspoon sea salt3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper1 teaspoon cayenne pepper1 teaspoon grated or ground nutmegPreheat your oven to 375 F and grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish generously with butter.Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray, cover with a layer of aluminum foil, top with a cooking rack and spray that with non-stick cooking spray, too.Arrange the bacon onto the rack in a single layer, leaving space in between each piece.Roast until firm and crispy, about 45 minutes, then reduce the oven to 325 F.Transfer the bacon to a cast-iron pan and sauté over medium heat until very crispy, about 20 minutes.Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat.Add the onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, corn (if using), celery, sage, thyme and celery seeds, cover with a lid and cook, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes; remove from the heat and cool.In a large bowl, toss the cornbread and white bread to combine. Add the bacon and any renderings and toss to combine. Add the cooled vegetable medley and toss to combine.Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth, place over a 4-cup liquid measuring cup and strain the oyster liquor through it. Add enough stock to equal 2 cups. Add the eggs and whisk to combine, then pour it into the bowl with the bread. Add the salt and pepper, cayenne and nutmeg, and stir to combine.Spoon half of the dressing into the prepared baking dish. Space the oysters evenly over the dressing at least an inch away from the sides of the dish. Spoon the remaining dressing over the oysters, spreading it to the edges of the dish.Bake until the dressing is steaming, and the top is lightly browned, about 1 hour. Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve hot.Recipe by Alexander SmallsFor this recipe and more, go to:
On this episode of Cooking Up a Storm, we turn to a rising star of the culinary world, chef and writer Sohla El-Waylly, to offer her tips and tricks for making the crispiest and juiciest bird possible. She’ll share her turkey recipe, the aptly-named: Crisp & Juicy Herb Roasted Turkey, along with her recipe for a fresh take on gravy: Honey-Thyme Gravy.  Both are sure to make this year’s holiday extra savory. Crisp & Juicy Herb Roasted Turkey Serves 8 to 101/3-1/4 cup kosher salt3 tablespoons granulated sugar2 teaspoons MSG (optional)thyme, sage and rosemary sprigs1 (12- to 14-pound) whole turkey6 tablespoons melted ghee or neutral oil (such as sunflower or canola)In a medium bowl, whisk together the salt, sugar and MSG (if using). Set a wire rack into a sheet tray. Line the rack with enough herb sprigs to cover.Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey cavity and reserve for gravy. Place the turkey, breast-side down, on a cutting board. Using kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone to remove it (reserve the backbone for gravy). Flip over the turkey and press firmly onto the breast until it flattens and you hear the breastbone crack.Using paper towels, pat the turkey and cutting board dry. Evenly sprinkle the salt mixture all over the turkey, taking care to get into the wing and leg joints. You want to be sure to use all of the salt mixture — if some falls off, scoop it up and pat it on.Place the turkey, skin-side up, onto the prepared sheet tray. Chill turkey, uncovered, for at least 24 hours and preferably 48 hours.Remove from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours. Heat oven to 425 F. Brush or rub turkey evenly with melted ghee or oil.Place the turkey into the oven and pour 1½ cups water into the sheet tray.Roast turkey, rotating occasionally, until the skin is deep golden-brown, an instant-read thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the breast registers at least 150 F and the thighs register at least 165 F, about 90 minutes (if the skin is getting dark too quickly, reduce the heat to 375 F). Allow turkey to rest, uncovered, for at least 20 minutes before carving.Honey-Thyme GravyMakes about 1 quartWith a paper towel, pat giblets dry (if using). Cut giblets into 1/2-inch pieces.In a medium saucepan or Dutch oven, heat ghee or oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add giblets, season lightly with salt and cook undisturbed until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Toss and cook until opaque, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer giblets to a plate and refrigerate, leaving the fat behind.Return the pan to medium heat. Add the neck, backbone, carrots and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, thyme sprigs, peppercorns and broth, and bring to a simmer over high heat. Use a ladle to skim off any foamy scum that floats to the surface. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, partially covered, until everything is tender, about 45 minutes.Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and discard the solids. You should have at least 1 quart of broth (top off with water if needed). The broth and giblets can be prepared 3 days in advance.In a medium saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter until foamy. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until blonde and smells nutty, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the broth in a slow and steady stream until incorporated. Simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened and no raw flour taste remains, about 5 minutes (the gravy can be made up to this point up to 3 days in advance).Stir in honey, chopped thyme leaves, ground pepper and cooked giblets. Taste and add more salt, pepper and honey as needed.Recipes by Sohla El-WayllyFor this recipe and more, go to:
While holiday meals are admittedly carb and protein-rich, most people would agree that the menu isn’t truly complete without something green included. For the next episode of Cooking Up a Storm, we seek out the sage advice of chef and restaurant-owner Marcus Samuelsson, who’ll share his recipe for a new take on an old holiday favorite: Caramelized Brussels Sprouts. This isn’t your grandma’s recipe, we promise.Caramelized Brussels SproutsServes 41 pound Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed and halved1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced2 sprigs rosemary, chopped, reserving 1/4 teaspoon for the dressing1 teaspoon berberesaltfreshly ground black pepper1 shallot, thinly sliced1/2 cup peanuts, rough chopped2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley1 tablespoon maple syrup1 tablespoon sherry vinegar1/2 cup pomegranate seedsPreheat the oven to 450 F.In a large bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, most of the rosemary and berbere until well-combined.Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.Place the sprouts on a parchment-lined sheet pan and roast until lightly caramelized and cooked, about 15 minutes.Meanwhile, in a large, high-sided skillet, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.Add the shallots and peanuts and cook, stirring often, until the shallots are softened, and the peanuts are lightly toasted, about 4 minutes.Add the parsley, 1/4 teaspoon rosemary, maple syrup, vinegar and a generous pinch of salt, and stir to combine.Add the pomegranate seeds and roasted Brussels sprouts and toss to combine. Season with salt, to taste; serve.Recipe by Marcus SamuelssonFor this recipe and more, go to:
The cranberry sauce debate: chunky and complex, or sliced straight from the can? James Beard Award-winning chef and Oglala Lakota tribe member, Sean Sherman, shows us how to make wojape -- a Lakota word for a traditional sauce made of berries. On this episode, he shares his recipe for Cranberry Wojape. He’ll teach you just how easy it is to make this homemade version that will not only wow your guests, but also celebrate the original food culture of this land.Cranberry WojapeMakes about 1 quart4 cups water8 ounces fresh cranberries2 ounces rosehips, seeded and dried3 fluid ounces maple syrupAdd all ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth, being very careful of hot liquid.Continue to simmer until sauce coats back of spoon or desired consistency.Cool and serve!Recipe by Sean Sherman, Founder of The Sioux ChefFor this recipe and more, go to:
Other than spending time with beloved friends and family, the sweetest part of the holiday meal is always dessert. And a staple on many tables? Pie! So, we asked baker Maya-Camille Broussard, known as a “flavor fanatic” on the Netflix show, Bake Squad, for her exciting new recipe: Sweet Potato and Plantain Pie.Sweet Potato and Plantain PieServes 6 to 81 pound (about 1 large) sweet potatoesvegetable oil, for frying2-3 very ripe plantains (about 1 cup), peeled and cut crosswise into 1½-inch pieces1 cup packed light brown sugar4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature2 large eggs, room temperature1/2 cup evaporated milk1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg1/2 teaspoon kosher salt2 teaspoons vanilla extract1 (9-inch) pie shell lined with all-butter crust, store-bought or homemadeAdjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 400 F.Wrap the sweet potatoes with foil and place on a baking sheet.Bake until extremely soft and a knife inserted into each meets no resistance, about 2 hours.Cool completely, then slice each potato down the center.Use a spoon to scoop out the potato's flesh, placing it into a medium bowl.Using a potato masher, fork or spoon, mash the potatoes until completely creamy and there are no lumps.Remove any visible fibrous sweet potato strings and discard.Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.Meanwhile, fill a Dutch oven with 1½ inches of vegetable oil and warm over medium heat.Fry the plantains, in batches, until golden-brown on each side, about 4 minutes.Transfer the plantains to a paper towel-lined plate. Remove from the oil; drain excess oil on a paper towel.Add the plantains to the bowl with the mashed sweet potatoes and puree using an immersion blender, until smooth.Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 1 hour.Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F.Using a hand mixer or a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the brown sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and mix until well-blended.With the mixer on, slowly pour in the evaporated milk and mix until well-combined. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and vanilla extract, and mix to combine. Add 2 cups worth of the pureed sweet potatoes and plantains, and beat until the filling shows small white specks, about 1 minute.Pour the mixture into the pie shell and bake on the middle rack of the oven until the top of the filling slightly browns and has a caramelized shine, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.Recipe by Maya-Camille Broussard, Owner of Justice of the PiesFor this recipe and more, go to:
As a bonus for our listeners, we're sharing a special clip from the "Making Space with Hoda Kotb" podcast.While on her book tour for “The Light We Carry,” former First Lady Michelle Obama sat down in front of a live audience with her friend and TODAY show anchor Hoda Kotb. Equal parts poignant and funny, their conversation touches on everything from the moment Mrs. Obama left the White House that final time to the reasons she’s glowing at 58 years old. Hoda and Mrs. Obama connect on everything from raising girls to seeing the value in this stage of life. And, of course, how to tap into “the light” we all carry. To listen to their full conversation, search "Making Space with Hoda Kotb" wherever you get your podcasts, or click here:
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