This Turkey Is Cooked in a Whiskey Bottle

The "Break-in Turkey" is made at a notorious break-in spot.

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Forget about filling your brined bird with stuffing or cramming a chicken into a duck into a turkey. In Washington, D.C., one chef is stuffing the holiday bird into a glass bottle.

For the upcoming holiday, Sébastian Giannini, executive chef at Kingbird at The Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., and a proponent of glass-container cooking, is stuffing a turkey roulade with black truffle mousseline in an empty 750-ml whiskey bottle, sealing it and steaming it.

The dish arrives at the table still in the glass, like an edible-turkey take on a ship in a bottle.

And there’s no need to shatter the bottle: Before it’s stuffed, the bottle is sliced then re-adhered, allowing the pieces to cling together while cooking, but easily pull apart once the dish is ready to serve. The over-the-top turkey (available at dinner by preorder, from November 25 through Thanksgiving) is served with seared foie gras, a piece of gingerbread and potato mousseline with shaved black truffles. As for the whiskey that once inhabited the bottle, it’s used by the bar team to make cocktails, or served neat. The Japanese whiskey has a hint of rosemary, which makes for a nice pairing with the turkey, especially since the aromatics are such a critical part of in-bottle cooking.

The restaurant is referring to it as “break-in dining.” So, besides the obvious reference to The Watergate’s infamous Nixonian crime, is cooking the turkey inside a bottle merely a kitchen parlor trick? Giannini, French native, insists it isn’t. “The glass protects and helps to control the cooking process with very low cooking temperature applied, [keeping] the turkey breast perfectly tender and juicy.” And the whisky “brings another level of taste to the mousseline—it adds richness and regulates some of the sweet, balancing out the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg,” he adds.

It gives an all-new meaning to breaking for dinner.

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