This year we had Thanksgiving on Saturday. It gave my extended family time to recover from their Thursday feasts and me time to get to the Pacific Northwest and prepare for the masses to ascend...31 masses to be precise. And what a great time we all had laughing and eating and playing games - specifically my new favorite, "That's What She Said".
But let's get down to the juicy details - and they are juicy. In all my other preparations, I didn't take time to plan out how I was going to make the turkey. We actually did two (which my aunt and uncle so generously provided), but my husband decided to make it a competition (I am slightly competitive - even when it's something I may not be good at). I'm not going to say who unofficially won, but we're posting about mine, so you take a guess.
I decided how I was going to prepare my turkey 30 minutes before popping it in the oven. I looked around the kitchen I'm trying to familiarize myself with, looked out to the back deck, and saw my pot of parsley and rosemary. Bingo! I decided to cut a bunch of both off and mix them into a stick of butter I had set out the night before. It was simple, but delicious and juicy. I have no regrets and will be making it this way again.
- 1 whole turkey, thawed (mine was 25 lbs)
- 1 stick butter, unsalted and softened
- 3/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped fine
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry basil
- 1 teaspoon dry sage
- lemon, sliced
- salt and pepper
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (I used convection). Get out your giant roasting pan - it doesn't have to be fancy. Mine is about 15 years old and I got it at some huge Macy's sale for $20. It doesn't even have a lid - I just use foil.
Prepare your butter by adding all the herbs and combining with the backside of a spoon till incorporated well. Set aside.
Unwrap and rinse that turkey. Remember to take the packaged innards OUT! Place that bird on the roasting rack. Start by sliding your fingers under the skin and working your hand through separating the skin from the meat - be a bit gentle so as not to tear through the skin. You gotta work the whole bird this way, so don't get squeamish now. Portion out your butter in the bowl to give yourself enough for each section of the turkey (or chicken). Start smearing and distributing that herbed butter under the skin of the entire bird - even the legs. Salt and pepper the entire outside of the bird. (I almost always prefer fresh ground pepper over pre-ground from the store.) If you had any leftover butter, smear it around the top of your meat. I also sliced up a lemon and put that into the cavity along with another bundle of fresh parsley.
Place bird in it's final resting position - breasts up. Don't worry, it's going to stay juicy! Cover with foil and bake for 4.5 hours. (I didn't use a thermometer, but the juices were flowing clear and this was the time it should have taken to cook a turkey this size. Check time needed for the size you have.) Remove from oven and let rest while the juices redistribute throughout. After 10-15 minutes, start carving and serve. If you want to save your finger tips from being burned off, maybe get some silicon gloves...I could now commit a crime without it being traced back to me (at least due to fingerprints, which I no longer have).