Easy Thanksgiving Turkey

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My family celebrated Thanksgiving a few days early this year because I have to work this holiday.  We also didn’t want Aiden to miss out on his first Thanksgiving meal. He couldn’t quite chomp down on a turkey leg yet but he certainly gobbled up some shredded turkey meat.  Maybe next year he’ll have enough teeth to go for a whole leg. 

When I’m busy juggling the main dish with anywhere from three to four side dishes and dessert, I like to keep things simple and make them as foolproof as possible.  I used the same turkey recipe that I have been using for years-- a rosemary-butter stuffed turkey.  I like to enhance the flavor of the turkey without overwhelming it with too many spices or herbs.  With both the butter and olive oil and frequent basting, the meat turned out succulent and tender.  The usual accompaniments were gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, roasted brussels sprouts with pancetta, roasted acorn squash, and roasted butternut squash with balsamic honey.  

Everything was gone except for the turkey carcass and a few pieces of meat enough for a sandwich.  It’s exhausting to spend the whole day cooking but incredibly satisfying to see everything gobbled up in less than an hour.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  

Roasted Rosemary Turkey
20 lb turkey (neck, heart, and gizzard reserved for gravy)
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup fresh rosemary leaves plus 4 sprigs
2 tbsp salt
½ tbsp pepper
1/3 cup olive oil1 orange (halved)

1. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator before roasting, clean, and pat dry. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.
2. With a spoon, mash the rosemary and butter together until well combined.
3. Use a knife to gently loosen the turkey’s skin. Stuff the mixed rosemary and butter evenly underneath the skin
4. Combine the olive oil, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Brush the entire turkey with the mixture.
5. Fill the cavity with the orange halves and rosemary sprigs.
6. Place turkey in a roasting pan, breast up, and roast for 4 hours. Baste every 45-60 minutes so the skin will not dry out.
7. Flip the turkey at 1.5 hrs so it can cook evenly, and flip it again at 3 hrs. After the second flip, place a large piece of aluminum foil over the breast to prevent it from burning.
8. Roast the turkey until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh reads 170˚ F and and juices in the thigh run clear when pierced with a fork.
9. Transfer the turkey to a platter. Tent it very loosely with aluminum foil, and let it rest for at least 45 minutes before serving.

Turkey Gravy
Neck, heart, and gizzard
1 cup of chicken stock
2 cups of water
½ stick of butter
¼ cup of all purpose flour
½ cup of pan juice from turkey drippings
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Remove neck and giblets and put into a large saucepan.
2. Add chicken stock and water. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat and let simmer until reduced to about 2 cups. Strain and reserve.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour. Whisk flour over medium heat for 5 minutes.
4.Add the reserved turkey stock and pan juice and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and let simmer until thickened and ready to serve. Season, to taste.

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