Friday, November 16, 2012

Herb Roasted Turkey

In my opinion, Thanksgiving is not necessarily a time for experimenting.  Sure, you can add a new side to the mix, put together a special appetizer, even add some flare with an annual themed cocktail!  But once you've found the method of cooking the turkey that suits you, just stick with it.

Personally, I use the 3Bs: Brine, Butter, & Bake.  Here's how I make my traditional roasted turkey:

1. Brine: Soaking the turkey in flavored water for 24 hours will ensure that the turkey is super moist (even the white meat!), and incredibly flavorful.  Last year was the first time I brined my turkey and I have to say, the end result is SO worth it.  I make my brine by adding 3/4 c. salt, 1/4 c. brown sugar, and a bunch of fresh herbs- usually thyme and rosemary, to a pitcher of cool water.  Stir the mixture well to combine.  Place the turkey in a large pot, cover with the liquid, then fill the pot with water so the entire turkey is submerged.  Refrigerate for 24 hours before cooking the turkey.

2. Butter: I like to make a dense herb butter.  I use one stick of room temperature butter, mix in chopped rosemary and thyme, and the zest of one lemon.  When you're ready to put the turkey in the oven, remove it from the brine, dry the skin completely (this will help it crisp), and rub the entire turkey with the herb butter.  Use your fingers to separate the skin from the turkey breast (be careful not to break the skin) and use your fingers to push the herb butter under the skin.

3. Bake: Place the turkey on a roasting rack.  Cover the wings with tin foil so they do not burn and tie the two turkey legs together (this will ensure the turkey cooks evenly).  Place 1 can of chicken stock in the pan, then cover the entire pan with tin foil (be careful not to let the foil touch the turkey).  Bake at 325 until the turkey is cooked through (I always use the instructions on the turkey package; for my 28lb turkey, the roasting time was 4.5-5 hours).  During the last hour of cooking, remove the tin foil so the skin can crisp up. When the turkey is cooked through (use the pop up timer that comes with the turkey already!), remove it from the oven, cover it loosely with foil, and let it rest for an hour at room temperature before slicing it.


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