Chefs Jose Garces And Marc Vetri Set To Battle In Their Annual Thanksgiving Day Football Game; We Compare The Chefs’ Turkey Recipes To See How They’ll Fare

In honor of the third annual Garces vs. Vetri Thanksgiving football game, we asked each chef for a turkey recipe so we could see how the chefs' Thanksgiving skills stack up off the field. (Left photo courtesy Garces Restaurant Group, right photo courtesy Marc Vetri)

The annual Thanksgiving Day football game between chefs Jose Garces and Marc Vetri is quickly becoming a big holiday tradition in the Philadelphia food world.

Each year, the two acclaimed chefs discard their chef whites for an Iron Chef battle of a different sort: a battle of the pigskin on the gridiron.

The chefs each recruit a team of players from their respective restaurants and put it all on the line: pride, bragging rights and, this year, a hefty check in the amount of $10,000 made out to the winning chef’s charity. Plus the amazing trophy.

This year’s game will be “Turkey Bowl III” and they’re kicking it up a notch: they’ve secured a stadium to host the game: Penn’s Franklin Field.

Meanwhile, Team Vetri called a team practice as early as September. But of course it’s in good spirits; Vetri also jokingly tweeted a call for ex-football players looking for restaurant jobs.

The rivalry currently stands at one win a piece; Team Vetri won the inaugural game in 2009 and Team Garces won last year’s showdown to even things up. Making the outcome of Turkey Bowl III even more hotly contested.

For some pre-game analysis, we’re taking a look at a turkey recipe from each chef. From Chef Jose Garces, a brined and deep fried Thanksgiving Turkey recipe. And from Chef Marc Vetri, an Italian twist on Thanksgiving with his Turkey Cutlet Milanese recipe.

We’re sharing the chef’s recipes side by side below for your enjoyment; feel free to whip up one or both for the holiday and decide for yourself which elite chef’s bird comes out on top.

So what do you think? Any predictions on whose cuisine, or rather whose team will reign supreme?

Recipes included in full, below.

Tukey Bowl III – Team Garces vs. Team Vetri
Thursday, November 24
Franklin Field

Chef Jose Garces

Deep Fried Turkey

One 20 lb Turkey
2 cups of salt
2 cups of sugar
2 gallons of water
1 cup of pickling spices
2 gallons vegetable oil

Combine water, sugar and salt in a large pot and submerge turkey. Refrigerate overnight allowing the turkey to brine. When ready to cook the turkey, place 2 gallons of vegetable oil in a turkey fryer and heat to 400 degrees. Pull turkey out of brine and allow to dry on a rack. Slowly submerge turkey in fryer. Cook for one hour or until golden brown and crispy on the outside.

Remove turkey carefully and put it on a platter. Allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving. If serving later that day, cover with aluminum foil and allow to sit on top of the stove. When ready to serve, heat in a 350 degree oven for a half an hour. Serves 10.

Chef Marc Vetri

Turkey Cutlet Milanese Style

11/2 pounds boneless, skinless turkey breast, cut into 8 slices on the diagonal
1 cup 00 or all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups plain dried bread crumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Maldon sea salt, for sprinkling
4 ounces arugula
2 tablespoons Lemon Vinaigrette
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
1/2 lemon, cut into 4 wedges

Place a slice of turkey between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using a flat meat mallet or small iron skillet, pound the turkey breast slice to an even thickness of about 1/4 inch. Repeat with the remaining slices.

Put the flour in a shallow bowl, the eggs in a second one, and the bread crumbs in a third. Season the flour with salt and pepper to taste. Coat the flattened turkey slices in the flour, patting off any excess. Coat with egg using one hand, and immediately dredge in the bread crumbs using your other hand. Put each breaded slice on a wire rack to rest for 10 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the butter and melt. In two batches, panfry the breaded turkey slices in the hot fat until browned and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with Maldon sea salt.

Dress the arugula with the lemon vinaigrette and a little salt. Mound a small pile of dressed arugula on each turkey slice. Top with a couple of Parmesan shavings and garnish with a wedge of lemon. Serves 4-6.

Check out other Vetri recipes in his brand new cookbook, Rustic Italian Food.

For a lot more delicious ideas for Thanksgiving recipes from top local chefs, visit Philly Homegrown’s 2011 Thanksgiving Guide.


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