Friday, November 25, 2011
The Perfect Turkey
1 stick butter, softened
1/3-1/2 cup of fresh herbs (I used rosemary, chives, dill, and sage), chopped
1 large carrot, peeled
4 stalks celery, including top leaves
8 garlic cloves, skin removed
5 fresh bay leaves
2 stems fresh rosemary
Fresh or dried sage
Freshly ground pepper
About 4-5 hours before your meal, remove turkey from refrigerator. Remove giblets, wash and completely dry turkey on the outside. Set aside and allow to sit out to take the chill off the turkey.
Mix butter and fresh herbs and set aside. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
In the meantime, roughly chop carrot, celery, onions, 4 garlic cloves. Reserve about 1/2 onion to put into the cavity of the turkey. Put the rest of the veggies in the bottom of your roaster. Add bay leaves, sage, and fresh rosemary. Generously salt and pepper all sides of the turkey and place on top of the bed or vegetables (this acts as a 'rack' for the turkey).
Fill the cavity of the turkey with onions and the remainder of the garlic cloves (smashed, but not chopped). You could add fresh herbs to the cavity as well.
Put the herb butter under the skin of the turkey (near breast and thighs). Put as much butter under the skin as you can. Rub any leftover butter on the outside top of the turkey.
Place oven on the bottom rack and place in 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes to form a crisp skin. Skin will begin to brown but should not be burned.
Turn oven down to 325 degrees and cook for about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Check thigh with a thermometer after 1 1/2 hours. Remove turkey when temperature reaches about 165 degrees. Take turkey out of oven and cover to keep warm. Allow turkey to rest a minimum of half hour. Save the veggies and drippings for gravy (see gravy recipe).
When carving the turkey, remove thigh and leg, and cut thigh meat from the bone (rough chop) then cut the breast off and slice across the grain in fairly thick slices. Place the leg on the platter and you're ready to eat! Turkey should be tender and moist and very fragrant!