November 14, 2010


I can close my eyes and smell that wonderful aroma that comes out of the kitchen only on special holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas when a Turkey is being roasted.   All the familiar cozy memories that are attached to that incredible smell flood your mind when you think of Roasted Turkey.  And sometimes those memories of dry tasteless slabs of Turkey are mixed in.   Roasting a Turkey does not require 8 hours in the oven and being suffocated by a plastic bag or waiting for that white and red timer pop-up thing to tell you when dinner is served.  If you follow a few simple steps you can serve a hot and juicy Turkey roasted to perfection during the holidays and even on a regular day when you are hungry for Roasted Turkey.  Always use a fresh natural Turkey if you have access to one.  Avoid those Salt and chemical injected Turkeys that I am sure would glow in the dark if given the chance.  If you can only find a frozen Turkey, be sure it is thawed completely by roasting day.   Plan ahead and brine the Turkey for at least 8 hours in a Salt and Sugar brine the night before for the juiciest Turkey.  When your family is sitting around the table with a succulent Roasted Turkey center stage they will all be thankful that you were Cooking The Amazing.

Here is the recipe.

1  Fresh Turkey
1 c  Sugar
1 c  Salt
1 Gallon Water
3  Celery Stalks, rough chopped
3  Carrots, rough chopped
1  Yellow Onion, cut into 8 pieces
3  Garlic Cloves, rough chopped
1/2 t  Sea Salt, fine grain
1/2 t  Black Pepper, fresh ground
2 T  Thyme, dried
2 T  Oregano, dried
1 t Paprika
1 1/2 t  Black Pepper, fresh ground
1 1/2 t  Sea Salt, fine grain
1 Lemon, quartered
1 Yellow Onion, large, quartered
3 Bay Leaves
1 T  Olive Oil
6 T Butter, no salt, softened

PREPARE AHEAD: Brine your fresh or thawed Turkey for at least 8 hours (or over night is best) in 1 c Sugar and 1 c Salt dissolved in 1 gallon of Water for the juiciest Turkey.  If you need more brine solution use the same ratio of 1 c each Salt and Sugar to 1 gallon Water.  Be sure to dissolve the Salt and Sugar before adding the Turkey.  You can do this the night before in a cooler with lots of ice on top or in the refrigerator in a large container (stock pot, new bucket, giant ziploc bags) if you have the room.  Remove your turkey and rinse well under cold Water and pat dry with paper towel.

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Before touching the Turkey have all of your ingredients prepped and ready so you do not risk contaminating them with bacteria from raw Turkey.

3.  Use a sturdy jelly roll sheet pan with sides to assist with safe transfer of the Turkey in the roasting pan to and from the oven.  I use foil roasting pans from the market so I do not have to worry about yet another pan to wash after a big meal.  Place the foil roasting pan on the jelly roll sheet pan.

4.  Roughly chop the 3 Stalks of Celery, 3 Carrots, 1 large Yellow Onion and 3 Cloves of Garlic and place them on the bottom of the roasting pan.  Sprinkle the 1/2 t Sea Salt and 1/2 t Pepper over top.  This will season the juices that come from the Turkey as it cooks and can be used for a flavorful Gravy.  Set this near your kitchen sink so you can transfer the washed Turkey into it easily.

5.  Mix in a small bowl the Paprika, Thyme, Oregano, 1 1/2 t Sea Salt and 1 1/2 t Pepper together well and set aside.  

6.  Chop the other Onion and quarter it and the Lemon to be used to stuff the Turkey cavity for flavor later.  Have Bay Leaves ready.  Set all aside. 

7.  Have the softened Butter on a small plate ready to use.  1 T Olive Oil near the Butter.

8.  Have several paper towels torn from the roll and next to the sink to dry the Turkey after you wash it.

9.  Place your Turkey into a dry kitchen sink or in another large foil pan then place the pan and Turkey in a dry kitchen sink.  Run very cold water over the entire bird including the cavity and rinse it well.  Remove any neck or giblets before washing from the cavity.  Pat the entire surface of the washed bird dry with the paper towel and drain any water from the cavity.  Pick up the Turkey and place it in foil pan that you will roast it in breast side up.

10.  Wash your hands very well. 

11. Tuck the tip of the wing back behind the neck cavity and shoulder of the bird to keep the Turkey tight to roast more even.

12.  Using your fingers, separate the skin from the breast gently, being careful not to tear the skin.  This will create a space to rub with butter later.
13.  Spread 1/3 rd of the softened Butter with your hands as evenly as you can beneath the skin in the pocket you created and then pull the skin back in place.
13.  Rub the entire outside with 1 T Olive Oil with your fingers then spread the remaining softened Butter on the entire outside skin surface of the bird evenly.
14.  Sprinkle the Herbs and Sea Salt and Pepper mixture evenly over the entire bird.

15.  Stuff the cavity with the Lemon and Onion quarters and Bay Leaves and wash your hands very well.

16.  Roast the Turkey in the lower third of your oven at 350 degrees until the juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees in the thickest part of the breast and thigh.  Check your Turkey at the time frame below to see if it is cooked.
During the roasting process do not baste and do not open the oven door until you check the temperature.

Approximate times to roast your Turkey and when to check the temperature and check for clear running juices:

11-13 lb. bird roast for    2 hrs. 30 mins.
14-16 lb. bird roast for   2 hrs. 45 mins.
17-20 lb. bird roast for   3 hrs. 15 mins.
21-24 lb. bird roast for   3 hrs. 30 mins.

*This is a guide only and you should rely on the internal temperature and the visual inspection of clear juices running from the meat and no pinkness.

17.  When the Turkey is cooked to 165 degrees and juices run clear, remove form the oven and cover with a tent of aluminum foil and allow to rest 20 mins. so the juices will redistribute into the meat.  Carving too soon will result in dry Meat where the juices run out as it is carved.  Serve immediately after carved spooning some of the drippings from the pan over the carved meat.  If you plan to make Homemade Gravy reserve the rest of the drippings.  And don't forget the Sage Sausage Stuffing!

For a delicious Sage Sausage Stuffing recipe click HERE.

For a delicious Homemade Gravy Recipe click HERE.

COPYRIGHT (c) 2010

1 comment:

Sarah L. said...

This turkey recipe is great! 5 stars! It is easy and was so juicy and the skin crisp. There was no left overs! And no dry turkey again!