Turkey, a thanksgiving staple. Why? I don’t know. You can wiki it, if you wish. But it’s a good bird to have every once in a while. And if done right, it can be pretty enjoyable, too. My apologies for my indifference toward the giant bird that graces our dinner tables every November, but I’m not a big fan of turkey meat. Why? I don’t know and I’m sure this information is un-wiki-able. Anywho, here I am posting this entry about how I prepared my thanksgiving turkey. It’s Thanksgiving after all. Needless to say, the bird came out great- moist, tender and flavorful. No, for real. I’m not just trying to brag, I think I really nailed it. You know what they say, third time’s a charm. Yes, this is the third time I’ve made turkey in my lifetime.
A quick back story.
The first time I made turkey, which was about 5 years ago, I roasted the bird dry. The turkey was a 19 pounder of rubbery, leathery, driest white meat I have ever had. Sure, the flavor was awesome but what’s the flavor for when you need to chug down a whole glass of water just to be able to ingest the meat without choking.
Then a couple of years later, due to the trauma brought about by overcooking the bird, I decided to cheat and used a turkey bag. If you want to skip the ceremonious turkey carving, I highly suggest this method. It’s either that’s what this roasting bag was for or I once again managed to botch it. Needless to say, the wings and legs broke off only to be held in place with a paper thin piece of skin. I had to conceal the dismemberment with stuffing around the platter. I guess it helped. But you can still tell that the turkey was buthcered even before we started eating by how wide the legs were spread apart. (So many jokes, and so inappropriate in so many levels)
But behold! Youtube video after youtube video, I have made a good Thanksgiving turkey. I can’t say it’s perfect. I still have lots of room to improve. I’m a novice when it comes to this. But behold… (let me apologize now for the really bad photos.)
- 14-lb. turkey
- Herbes de provence
- 2 sticks of butter- room temperature
- Rosemary- roughly chopped
- Thyme- roughly chopped
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 sprig thyme
- table spoon of minced garlic
- Half head of garlic
- Half lemon
- Olive oil
- Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
- After thawing (which usually takes 3-5 days depending on how big the turkey is), wash the turkey thoroughly under cold water including the cavity. Take the neck and the giblet pouch out and set aside. Pat dry with paper towel. Don’t forget to wash your sink with soap and water to avoid salmonella. Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Mix chopped herbes de provence, thyme, roesmary and minced garlic in softened butter. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Season the cavity with salt and pepper and 1/2 head of garlic, lemon, a sprig of rosemary and thyme. Truss the legs together and tuck the wing tips underneath.
- Place turkey breast side up, using your fingers, gently create a pocket between the breast and the skin. Take a spoonful (1 spoonful per side) of the herb seasoned butter and insert in the pocket. Press on the skin to spread the butter.
- Brush butter all over the turkey and season with s&p and rosemary, thyme, and herbes de provence.
- Place the turkey in a roasting pan (preferably with a rack) and cover with foil. Make sure that the foil is creates a tight seal to seal in all the moisture. Rule of thumb- it’s 20 minutes to a pound. So my 14 lb. turkey would cook for about 4 1/2 – 5 hours at 375 F.
- This is optional but you can start basting about 2 1/2 hours into the cooking time. Try to limit basting. Because while you’re trying to moisten the meat, a lot of heat comes out every time you unwrap the foil and open the oven. Every 45 minutes should be fine.
- Uncover the turkey when there’s 15 or 20 minutes left to make a golden brown finish.
*I made a mistake of starting out really low, 325 F. While there’s no harm in doing so, cooking process takes longer in lower temperatures and leaves a pink tinge on your meat even though it’s cooked because all the blood settled longer at the bottom instead of already being clarified at higher temps.