How Jacques Pépin Uses Every Part Of The Turkey - Exclusive

Jacques Pépin is a French culinary legend who has been contributing to the movement of elevated yet simple cooking for several decades to audiences worldwide. The author of over 30 cookbooks, Pépin is back with "Cooking My Way," which focuses on making delicious, yet efficient meals that are conscious of your time, budget, and ingredient list. Pépin recently joined Tasting Table for an exclusive interview to provide guidance on how to be mindful in the kitchen, specifically by utilizing all the parts of the proteins you purchase. 

As we look toward the Thanksgiving holiday, Pépin encourages home cooks to make multiple meals out of your whole turkey, particularly with the often discarded parts such as the liver and the neck. According to Pépin, by using each part of the turkey, you'll enjoy dishes that are flavorful and nutritious, and that make buying the whole bird an economical purchase. "I didn't discover turkey in America, but I discovered Thanksgiving — we don't celebrate in France ... When I have turkey for Thanksgiving, then for two or three days, I have turkey dishes. You can [make] them with rice or with potato or with anything like that; it will come out good."

The surprising magic of turkey liver

Pépin wants you to consider robust and innovative uses for all of the parts of your leftover turkey that you may have previously considered tossing. This allows you to make the most out of your leftovers beyond the classic turkey soup or turkey sandwich, to repurpose them into standout dishes in their own right. According to Pépin, you can use turkey liver similarly as you would duck or chicken liver with a few considerations. "The turkey liver will be the one to get dry faster ... You have to be careful to make sure that it's pretty pink inside when you start cooking before you emulsify it; otherwise, it will be dry." 

To transform your turkey liver, Pépin recommends a simple, yet elegant preparation: "Sauté it with some onion and garlic and emulsify it in your food processor — it's almost like foie gras, like a rich pâté. You can put it in a bowl or container. It freezes very well. I always do that. I probably have five or six [containers] in the freezer now. When I do it this way, if I have people coming for a drink, I take one of those containers out and we have it with toast. It's a great thing to do — inexpensive and quite delicious."

Delicious uses for your turkey leftovers

With the rest of your turkey, Pépin suggests a fricassee of turkey: "Slice [the turkey meat] thin like veal and sauté it with cream sauce. With the skin of the turkey, you can do cracklings, which are as good or better than bacon. You can put that on toast, in a salad, and so forth." For a sure crowd-pleaser, Pépin cooks his leftover turkey wings similarly as he would chicken wings. "[Turkey wings] ... are about two or three times the size of chicken [wings]. You can do them in the same way [as you would with chicken], on the grill or with hot sauce basting on top, or you can actually cook them with rice like a paella or pilaf ... They're usually quite good and meaty."

"My market always has [turkey wings] around Thanksgiving time," he says. Pépin also often finds less popular parts of the turkey for sale that are a delicious and cost-efficient purchase. "They will have turkey giblet and turkey neck — turkey neck is great too. You cook that with rice, or you can do a soup. They are very meaty and delicious — very moist meat and very inexpensive too."

"Cooking My Way" is now available for purchase here. Keep up with all things Jacques Pépin and the Jacques Pépin Foundation on Instagram.