Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe to Remember

It was only the second time that i was in charge of The Bird.  Making me especially anxious was the fact that i was making the bird for my folks and their guest...is there anything more stressful than a peer performance review at the Thanksgiving table?  For sure the time crunch is a close second.

Coincidentally, my dad and i had happened to stumble upon the directions for a 45 Minute Turkey around the same time.  Mark Bittman's instructions for roasting turkey this way in his How to Cook Everything book was my inspiration, and i concocted the ingredients myself.  So this time of year, with my folk's encouragement, i decided to try something new.

The premise of a 45 minute bird is to flatten ol' Tom Turkey out, so that all the meat roasts on an even plane.  I cut out the backbone out of an eleven pound bird, flatten the breastbones, and tucked the wings under so they wouldn't block the breast meat.  I also learned that tying the legs together would be helpful to.  You could also part out the whole bird, but i wanted to save what i could of the idea of "presentation".

Next i made a compound butter with chopped rosemary, orange zest, and salt and pepper and a brick (two sticks) of butter.  Hold onto this for later. :)

On a roasting pan or cookie sheet, i placed one sliced onion, sliced orange, three chopped carrots and celery sticks (i used the inside part with the leaves and all), and 12 cloves of garlic.  There were whole sprigs of rosemary and leaves of sage that i laid on top of the veg as well.  On top of that, i placed the bird, and rubbed him down with butter, under the skin as well as on top.

Into a 450 degree F oven he went, where he was ignored for 20 minutes.  After that time, turn down the oven to 350 and baste him a little.  I didn't have much juice in the pan, so i used chicken stock to baste him.

Twenty minutes into the process.
After another 15 minutes, i took his temperature.  He was already measuring 155 - 160 degrees F, which is what was recommended as the finishing temperature.  We didn't know if we could trust this, so we put him back in the oven at 325 and stuck him in for another 10 minutes, after basting of course.

We took him out of the oven, tented him with foil, and waited 30 minutes.

And this is how he turned out!!  The meat was so moist and still pink in the middle.  Normally we're sawing through the dried out turkey breasts when i cook it.  And the best thing was he was done in 45 minutes, leaving plenty of time for cooking a couple side dishes and a batch of rolls.   He did pick up a lot of orange flavour, which we found refreshing, but if that isn't your style, you might want to leave out the zest or the slices.

This preparation makes me think we should eat turkey more often!!

How was your Thanksgiving turkey?  Any unusual recipes your family loves?

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