Talking Turkey

In just seven days we will gather around the table with our families or friends for a day of giving thanks.
I truly love Thanksgiving day and all of the little things that accompany it: family gatherings, travel, laughter, love, food, football, cards with friends, and just enjoying the day away from work, school and stress of everyday living.  It has always been a special day to us whether we have traveled hours to see our family, or just stayed at home with our children.  I am just as content with a small intimate dinner as I am with a huge gathering.
There is something so peaceful about Thanksgiving day.  Maybe it’s because it is one day out of the year that the majority of us focus on gratitude.  I know I always feel so much better about life when I count my blessings and say thank you instead of focusing on the negative world in which we live.
For the last nine or so years, no matter where we have enjoyed our Thanksgiving day, the turkey has become my “dish” to prepare.  I know everyone has their traditional way of preparing a turkey, from the deep fryer to ordering one prepared, but I love an old-fashioned roasted turkey.  There are so many ways to roast a turkey that you never have to have the same flavor twice.
I also love to dress the turkey up and bring him to the table as the centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinner.
{It’s a totally dramatic moment for me.}
Here is our favorite roasted turkey …..
20 pound whole turkey
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups Riesling wine
olive oil
1 package cheesecloth
kitchen twine
assorted fresh vegetables, fruit & herbs (chopped): carrots, celery, onion, rosemary sage, parsley,
cranberries & apples
Let’s Cook it!
**Make sure your turkey is completely thawed out before beginning.  If you can, begin thawing in your refrigerator 3-4 days before you actually plan to cook it.
**Clean out the cavity of the bird and set the contents aside (you can use these to make gravy later if you would like).  Rinse the bird in cold water and pat dry.
**Carefully loosen the skin over the breast of the bird, carefully slipping your hand underneath.  Loosen all the way to the leg and thigh as well.  After you have separated the skin from the turkey meat, slip the butter between the layers and evenly spread it over the breast, leg and thigh.
**Sprinkle your turkey generously with salt and pepper, on the top and bottom.  (If you are prepping ahead of time, you can cover the bird with foil at this point & store in the refrigerator.)
**Using your freshly chopped vegetables and herbs, make a “bed” in the bottom of your roasting pan for your turkey to rest on, saving some of the vegetables, herbs, and fruit to stuff the bird.
**After stuffing the bird with your veggie mixture, bind the bird with twine to help hold it s it cooks.  Rub Olive oil all one rate skin of the bird and place on the bed of veggies.
**Preheat the oven to 350, and prepare a rack in the lower portion of your oven to hold your roasting pan.  I recommend that you use a sturdy pan for your bird as foil pans (while great for easy clean-up) don’t necessarily provide security for the turkey as you are moving it around the kitchen.
Not that I have ever dropped a turkey or anything……. Sigh.
**In a large bowl, combine the wine and chicken broth.  Unfold your cheesecloth, keeping it layered, but leaving a large enough piece to cover your turkey.  Soak the cheesecloth in the wine mixture, to thoroughly wet it.  Carefully remove the cheesecloth from the wine/broth mixture and lay it over the turkey.  Don’t squeeze the cheesecloth.
**Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes per pound.  Baste the turkey every 20 minutes or so with the wine and broth mixture.  Be sure to keep check on the cheesecloth because you don’t want it to dry out and stick to the skin of the turkey.  After about 4 1/2 hours of cooking, carefully remove the cheesecloth and baste the bare turkey with the juices.  Continue to roast until done (the juices will run clear).  The turkey will take on  lovely golden color.  Be sure to baste a couple of times during the last hour of cooking.
**Remove fromt he oven and transfer to a platter to rest before carving.
**Garnish the bird with fresh herbs and cranberries.
There are literally hundreds of turkey recipes that you can find in magazines, books or on-line so venture out this year and make your turkey centerpiece worthy.  
Everyone will be so impressed!
Tell me, how do you like your turkey?

4 thoughts on “Talking Turkey

  1. Hi Jen!

    I'm so glad that you mentioned that you'd missed me. Blogger has been eating my blog roll. I kid you not. Every day or two, someone else goes missing and I don't think much about it because I depend on the roll popping up the most recent post. Please forgive me. I'll be adding you back again directly!

    Oh I do love turkey…this year a chicken, though, because it's not my turn. And I love a slow-roasted turkey…so flavorful and fine.


  2. And you're back! I'll be returning this afternoon with my pot of tea to read all that I've missed. Ackkk…I hate when this happens…not the reading of missed posts, but that they went missing at all!


  3. These are wonderful directions for roasting a turkey. I bet it is delicious after roasting on the bed of vegs and herbs! I'll never forget when I roasted my very first one. I was so afraid, but it really wasn't hard at all. In recent years I've switched to using a brown-in-bag. It gives me a perfectly cooked and juicy turkey every time. It works great for us because I serve our turkey already sliced since there are too many of us to fit at one table (where I could make a dramatic entrance with the bird!).


  4. I am not the biggest fan of turkey – and for years, I refused to make one on Thanksgiving. I made roasts instead. My poor hubs wanted a turkey so I finally gave in and made my first one about 10 years ago. He said it was the best he ever had – so now of course I whip one up every year!

    Who knew what I was missing all these years!

    Yours is a beauty! Hope you have a fabulous, stuffed Thanksgiving!


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