Thursday, November 25, 2010

Savory Scarborough Turkey

One of the biggest stresses of the holiday season is wondering if the turkey will turn out perfectly.  Many fuss and stress and inject and fry and do all sorts of unnecessary things.  Roasting a turkey is practically the easiest thing on earth.  Here's my "secret" recipe!

1 turkey, 15-18 pounds, thawed, drained, cavities emptied
2 large sweet onions, peeled and halved
1 bunch of fresh parsley, halved
1 bunch of fresh sage, halved
1 bunch of fresh rosemary, halved
1 bunch of fresh thyme, halved
1 t. Salt, kosher
1/4 t. Black pepper, freshly cracked
1/4 t. rubbed sage
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. dried rosemary
4 T. olive oil, plain (not extra-virgin)
4 T. unsalted butter, melted.

Equipment:  Roasting pan with rack, aluminum foil, meat thermometer (absolutely essential)

Place wire rack in roasting pan and tuck the wings under the bird (as best as possible).  Fill the neck cavity with half of the fresh herbs, and using one half of an onion like the "stopper."  Tuck the skin under the bird.  Fill the large cavity with the remaining fresh herbs and use the remaining onions to seal the cavity.  If the legs are not wired together, tie them together with butcher's twine. 

Dry the skin with a paper towel, then slather with the olive oil, making sure all the skin is covered.  Rub the dried herbs into the skin.  Tent aluminum foil over the entire bird (you will probably need two lengths) to prevent burning the skin.  Pour water into the roasting pan so that it covers the bottom but does not touch the bird.  If you can refill through the cooking process, do so.

If you have a programmable oven, set it to cook at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes per pound.  I set mine before I go to bed and let the bird cook while I sleep.  At the end of the 20 minutes per pound time period (5 hours for a 15-pound bird), check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.  I like 175-180 degrees deep in the thickest part of the breast and near the thigh.

Once your bird is nearing done, about 170-175 degrees, remove tent and drizzle butter over the skin.  Continue cooking until correct internal temperature is attained and the skin is crispy and golden brown.  Let set for 5-10 minutes before carving.  Your bird should be juicy and tender.

Serve on a bed of herbed wild rice.  For larger birds, you will need to increase the herbs.

Count your blessings during this holiday season!

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