The pressure is on and the time is here. Whether it’s your entire extended family and in-laws coming over for Thanksgiving, or you are hosting a small “friendsgiving”, everyone will expect nothing shy of a magnificent bird, roasted to a beautiful, golden perfection. If you are not Gordon Ramsey or a five-star chef, fear not. Turkeys aren’t too difficult to cook and will likely leave your guests full, happy, and maybe even a little tired. This recipe isn’t too tricky, and is one of the best Turkey recipes around.
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- 2 tablespoons ground dried rosemary
- 2 tablespoons rubbed dried sage
- 2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves1 tablespoon lemon pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 (15 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 orange, cut into wedges
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
- 1 (750 milliliter) bottle champagne
Preheat your oven to 350º. Place several sheets of aluminum foil on the inside of the turkey roaster. Ideally, you’d like enough aluminum foil to wrap over the turkey to fully cover it. Now, combine the parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, lemon pepper, and salt in a bowl. Make sure to thoroughly stir the combination. Rub the dry seasonings and herbs into the cavity of the turkey. Take the chopped carrot, onion, celery, and orange and stuff them into the cavity of the turkey also. If you prefer, you may truss the turkey at this point, however, it is completely optional. Carefully place the seasoned turkey into the roaster. Pour the chicken broth and champagne over the turkey. It is important to get the interior of the turkey covered in champagne through the cavity, as this is where a lot of the flavor lies. Bring the excess aluminum foil over the turkey and wrap it tightly, creating a seal. Try to keep the aluminum foil from touching the breast or legs.
Bake the turkey in the oven for two and a half to three hours, until there is no more pink around the bone and the juices are mostly clear. Now, uncover the turkey and continue baking it for about 45 minutes, or until the skin is a desired golden brown. Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh near the bone. The thermometer should read at least 180º F. Remove the turkey from the oven, and cover it with several sheets of aluminum foil to retain heat and moisture. Let the turkey sit for 20 minutes before carving it.
The next part is just as important, if not more, than the rest of the recipe. Once the turkey is cool, remove the string if you decided to truss it. Remove the legs and thighs by cutting through the skin that connects the breast and drumstick until you reach the joint. Grab the leg, push down, and separate it from the bird. Do this with both legs. Next, cut through the joint that connects the drumstick and thigh, they should pull apart easily. Using your hands, reach to the front of the breast and pull out the wishbone. This will make it much easier to carve. Position a long flexible knife on one side of the breastbone, and slice downward, as close to the bone as you can. While you are slicing down the breast bone, use your other hand to pull the meat off the bone. Do this with each breast. To remove the wings, use a chef knife to slice through the joint, removing the wing in the process. Repeat this for both wings. At this point, all the meat should be removed from the bird. You can slice the breasts and thighs however you like.
- Make sure your oven is hot when the bird goes in. This will ensure that the meat is completely done when it comes out, and it cooks at a consistent rate.
- The turkey should be close to room temperature before going into the oven. This will require you to take the turkey out of the freezer or fridge prior to cooking.
- Use an extremely sharp knife to carve the turkey. Nothing is worse than a dull knife “tearing” the meat.
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