We have much to be thankful for, and the annual holiday that brings to mind thanks is Thanksgiving. Consider the tasks of baking, roasting, cooking and preparing for the big day with friends and family gathering around our table. We are fortunate to have loved ones in our lives, a home to clean and get ready, ample food to go around. The tasks seem so much lighter when reflecting on these gifts.
You may be thinking of changing it up a bit, trying something new, or honoring past traditions. Here are three recipes, traditional roast turkey, citrus rosemary roast turkey breast and delicious herb rubbed turkey. There is plenty to be thankful for, indeed.
Traditional Roast Turkey
1 whole turkey , thawed
Preparing the turkey
- Select a turkey that is plump and meaty with smooth, moist-looking skin. The skin should be creamy colored. The cut ends of the bones should be pink to red in color.
- If the turkey is frozen, thaw it either in the refrigerator or in cold water. A turkey weighing 8 to 12 pounds will thaw in about 2 days in the refrigerator. A turkey weighing 20 to 24 pounds will thaw in about 5 days in the refrigerator.
- A whole turkey can be safely thawed in cold water. Leave the turkey in its original wrap, free from tears or holes. Place in cold water, allowing 30 minutes per pound for thawing, and change the water often.
- Remove the package of giblets (gizzard, heart and neck), if present, from the neck cavity of the turkey, and discard.
- Rinse the inside of the turkey, with cool water; pat dry with paper towels.
- Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
- Brush turkey with melted butter.
- Add about two cups of water or chicken stock to roasting pan.
- Place a meat thermometer in the thickest part of thigh muscle, so thermometer does not touch bone.
- Follow timing for approximate roasting time as indicated on turkey wrapper, depending on size of bird.
- Place a tent of aluminum foil loosely over the turkey when it begins to turn golden.
- When two-thirds done, cut the band or remove the skewer holding the drumsticks; this will allow the interior part of the thighs to cook through.
- Roast until the thermometer reads 180 degrees F (for a whole turkey) and the juice is no longer pink when you cut into the center of the thigh. The drumstick should move easily when lifted or twisted.
- When the turkey is done, remove it from the oven and let it stand for 15 minutes for easiest carving.
- Keep turkey covered with aluminum foil so it will stay warm.
Rosemary Citrus Roast Turkey Breast
1 (6 pound) bone-in turkey breast
1 bunch rosemary
6 sprigs parsley, fresh
Cornstarch as needed
- Loosen skin on both sides of turkey breast, being careful not to tear. Leave skin connected at breast bone.
- Stuff rosemary and parsley under loosened skin halves.
- With fork, deeply pierce lemon and orange several times and place in breast cavity.
- In an 11 x 9 x 1-inch roasting pan, place breast bone-side-up on meat rack.
- Bake at 325 degrees F until breast meat reaches 170-175 degrees F on meat thermometer.
- Allow turkey to stand 10 minutes before carving.
- In a large measuring cup, drain liquid from pan.
- Place liquid in refrigerator to allow fat to rise to top.
- Skim off fat and discard.
- Add squeezed juice from cooked lemon to defatted pan juices.
- For every cup, dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1/4 cup cold water.
- Stir into juices, bring to boil and cook one minute or until thickened.
- To serve, spoon gravy over sliced turkey.
Herb Rub Turkey
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
1 whole turkey (12 to 14 pounds), fresh or if frozen, thawed
1 large onion, cut into wedges
6 bay leaves
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Place oven rack in lowest position.
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Place roasting rack in shallow roasting pan.
- Mix first 6 ingredients in small bowl.
- Rinse turkey; pat dry.
- Place turkey, breast-side up, in prepared pan.
- Sprinkle about half of the seasoning mixture inside of turkey.
- Stuff with onion and bay leaves.
- Brush turkey breast with oil.
- Spread remaining seasoning mixture over entire surface and under skin of turkey.
- Add 1/2 cup water to pan; cover loosely with heavy duty foil.
- Roast 1 hour. Remove foil.
- Roast 2 to 2 1/2 hours longer or until internal temperature reaches 165°F (175°F in thigh), basting occasionally with pan juices.
- Remove turkey from oven. Let stand 20 minutes.
- Transfer to platter or carving board to slice.
- Reserve pan juices to make gravy or to serve with turkey.