November 22nd 2011

It’s all about the turkey

Thanksgiving is finally upon us this week, and chances are you’re planning your feast to enjoy with family and friends.

Chances also are you’re going the traditional route: turkey, gravy, and good ol’ pumpkin pie.

We’ve been covering the classics, and today it’s all about the turkey.

Herb and Citrus Turkey

With a hint of lemon, orange, and fresh herbs, this turkey is a fresh take on a basic bird.

1 (15-pound) turkey, neck and giblets reserved
1 orange, cut into 6 wedges
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
1 onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges
8 fresh sprigs each: rosemary, sage, and oregano
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons good quality herbes de Provence
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
4 cups good quality, low-sodium chicken broth

Position the oven rack to the lowest third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Rinse the turkey well, then use paper towels to pat it dry. Set a rack inside a large roasting pan. Put the turkey on the rack.

Put the orange wedges and lemon wedges, as well as the onion and 4 sprigs of each of the fresh herbs (sage, oregano, rosemary) inside the turkey cavity. Use kitchen twine to tie the legs together.

In a small bowl, put the butter, dried herbs, olive oil and salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Bring to low heat and cook for a few moments until the butter melts. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Use a basting brush (or your hands, but be careful because it is hot), to spread the butter mixture over the turkey. Be sure to get between the meat and the skin to flavor it well.

Cover the turkey with aluminum foil. Put in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven. Put 3 cups of the chicken broth into the pan around the turkey. Use a firm spatula or a spoon to scrape any brown crusty bits that are on the bottom of the pan. Put the remaining fresh sprigs in the pan. Roast the turkey for 40 minutes. Lower the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees F. Open the oven and remove the aluminum foil around the turkey. Pour 1 cup of the chicken broth into the pan. As the turkey roasts over the next hour or so, baste it occasionally with the pan juices.

Continue to roast the turkey until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads between 165 degrees F to 175 degrees F. The juices should also run clear when this part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer.

Transfer the turkey to a serving platter and tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes while preparing the gravy.

Easy Thanksgiving Turkey

For the new Thanksgiving cook, keep it completely simple with this easy version of the classic main dish.

1 (12-pound) turkey
Salt and pepper
2 chopped onions
2 chopped carrots
2 chopped apples
Any fresh herbs
6 to 8 tablespoons butter, melted (divided)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Remove the neck and giblets out of the cavity of the turkey, saving them for soup and gravy.

Rinse the turkey well, then use paper towels to pat it dry. Set a rack inside a large roasting pan. Put the turkey on the rack.

Season the turkey with salt and pepper. Put the onions, carrots, apples, and herbs inside the turkey cavity. Use a basting brush (or your hands, but be careful because it is hot), to spread the butter mixture over the turkey. Be sure to get between the meat and the skin to flavor it well.

Use aluminum foil to tent the turkey. Roast for about 2 hours, adding an extra 15 minutes per pound for birds larger than about 12 pounds. Remove the foil, and baste with additional melted butter. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Continue to roast for about another hour, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads between 165 degrees F to 175 degrees F. The juices should also run clear when this part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer.

Transfer the turkey to a serving platter and tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes while preparing the gravy.

Deep Fried Turkey

For this delicious twist, check out our article last year giving you the details on how to deep-fry a turkey.

For more recipe ideas, check out our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes.

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Andrew's Biography

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.