Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipes Pt. VIII - The Turkey

There are lots and lots of recipes to make fancy-schmancy turkey.

This is not one of them.

But I use it every year, and it's very reliable.  Large, medium or small turkey, this roasting method works.

By now you should be defrosting the turkey that was taking up all that space in your freezer. If not, try the cold water method to safety defrost it.  Or else be prepared to eat Thanksgiving dinner around 11pm.

Check the USDA's site anyway (and scroll down) for approximate roasting times.

Be sure to use a meat thermometer for accurate results.  If your bird has a pop-up timer, ignore it.  Those things have never ever worked for me.

The mayo step is perfect for a couple of 5-10 year olds.  But if there are no kids hanging around, don't worry -- your hands will benefit nicely from the mayo massage.


Roast Turkey
Yield: depends upon size

1 frozen turkey, your choice of size, completely defrosted
1 or 2 cups of mayonnaise (regular, NOT low-fat, olive oil or any other style)
kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
garlic powder
1 tsp. to 1 Tbl. finely chopped rosemary (optional)

Preheat oven to 425F.  Set up a rack inside a roasting pan large enough to contain the turkey and set aside.

Remove plastic wrapping from turkey.  Pull out that hidden giblets bag.  Remove metal kosher tag along with the metal clip holding the legs together, if still attached.

Using paper towels, pat dry the turkey, then place turkey on a large work surface.

Grab a handful of mayo and schmear it over the entire turkey, inside and out.  Be generous, but try to avoid large lumps clinging to the bird.  If you do this step yourself, you will probably only need the one cup.  But if kids help, the extra cup of mayo allows for the kids schmearing themselves up to their elbows and the fronts of their shirts.

Carefully (the bird is very slippery now) place the turkey, breast side down, onto prepared rack.  Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, garlic powder and rosemary. 

Slide pan into oven and roast for 1/2 hour.  Without opening  oven, lower heat to 325F.

Continue to roast for another hour, then carefully remove pan.  Using tongs or large spatulas, flip turkey over.  Sprinkle lightly with more salt, pepper, garlic powder and rosemary.

Insert meat thermometer into the thigh, near the breast (the turkey, not ... sorry).  Be sure it's not touching a bone.

Return pan to oven.  Continue to roast until thermometer reads 165F, which could be several more hours, depending upon size.   Check every 20 minutes or so.  If parts of the bird are browning too fast (which can happen with the legs), cover the offending parts loosely with aluminum foil.

Remove turkey from oven and let sit for around 20 minutes to allow juices to set.  Then let someone else carve the turkey.  You've done enough work.

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