Goat, smothered pork chops, a whole fish: Turkey alternatives

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“There’s nothing wrong with making a beautiful roast chicken; I think that’s always satisfying,” says co-host Andy Baraghani. DeVonn Francis shares his take on a lush Jamaican stew. Photo by Tanner Hoffarth

Like most of us, co-host Andy Baraghani cooks turkey once a year. He prefers to cook the turkey in parts — separating the leg quarters, wing tips, and the breast crown. His dry brine includes salt, pepper, paprika, light brown sugar, and black pepper corns. Dry brining the turkey for at least two days will ensure crunchy skin and crust and he cooks the bird on a baking sheet instead of a roasting pan. Baraghani learned the tip from a food stylist Susie Theodorou, who has cooked countless birds for magazine covers. The high sides of the roasting pan prevents even browning, while a baking sheet promotes an overall golden hue. 

For those looking to forgo a turkey for the holiday, he suggests a whole fish, a beautiful bone-in ribeye steak, or duck, while DeVonn Francis recalls holidays with goat and shares a recipe for a festive roasted chicken and pumpkin stew.

Roast Chicken & Pumpkin Stew

Serves: 4

If you grew up in a Jamaican household, you may be used to eating soups and stews year-round. Our chicken and pumpkin stew is made with cold and rainy days in mind: lush hunks of pumpkin and creamy brown rice get lifted with a good amount of acidity from lemon, tomato, and a splash of wine (secret ingredient: annatto). 


  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 chicken legs and thighs intact
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 2 cups spanish onion, roughly diced 
  • 1 lemon cut into wheels, seeds removed
  • ⅓ cup shallots
  • 2 teaspoons annatto, finely ground
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed, finely ground
  • 2 teaspoons ground chili flakes
  • ¼ cup short grain brown rice
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • 1 can (14.5 fluid ounces) peeled tomato
  • 2 pounds pumpkin, cut into wedges
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 4 - 2 inch stems of fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt


  1. Place a wire rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Season chicken legs with kosher salt and pepper and let dry brine while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. In a dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Fry off chicken legs and thighs to render off fat until chicken skin is golden brown and crispy for about 6 minutes on the fatter side of the leg and 4 minutes on the side with bone exposed.
  3. Caramelize onions, shallots and lemon rounds in dutch oven utilizing the rendered chicken fat  (about 2-3 minutes). Add annatto, coriander seed, chili flakes, salt, and black pepper and warm until fragrant. Add brown rice and garlic, warm until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
  4. Pour in chicken stock and wine to deglaze the dutch oven. Then add in tomato, raisins, pumpkin and thyme bouquet. Do not break the tomatoes apart, leave them whole in the pot. Place seared chicken legs skin side up on top of the dish being careful to not let legs go below the liquid. Place into the oven uncovered for 45 minutes and check for doneness with a thermometer near the bone (Should read 160°F)
  5. Remove dutch oven from the oven and remove the thyme bouquet before serving.