We’re under a week away from all of the “New Year, New You” messaging, telling us to cut back, lose weight and use all sorts of fat substitutes, so I’ll just get on with it.
The reason that this turkey is so good is butter, plain and simple.
You use a whole stick of it.
Before you judge me, know this: nothing good ever came from promises of no fat and no calories (with the notable exception, in my book, of Diet Coke). So, enjoy it. And, give me credit for not also covering the turkey breast with bacon, as a dear friend of mine had suggested.
Of course, I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t tempted. Perhaps that’s a post for March, when, following months of nesting, we’re over all of the promises of new everything in the new year? It’s a thought, anyway.
For now, here’s to plenty of butter and cream to get you through the last days of 2011.
Note that the roasting times are approximate and will vary with the size of your turkey.
1 10-15 lb turkey
8 TBS butter, room temperature
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, cut in half with zest and juice set aside (*Note that you’ll be using the juice in the gravy)
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
1 onion, peeled and cut into quarters
salt and pepper
Lots and lots of tin foil
Approximately 4 cups water
In a small bowl, combine minced garlic, lemon zest, thyme, and rosemary with the butter. Stir it until everything is well incorporated and season liberally wth salt and pepper. Set aside.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
Your turkey should be at room temperature. Rise it off and pat to dry. Insert the halved lemon and quartered onion into the cavity. Then, using your hands, gently seperate the skin from the meat of the turkey breast. Once that is complete, use your hands and place the herbed butter under the skin, distributing it as evenly as possibly, using as much of the butter as you can fit.
Use the remaning butter to coat the turkey skin, taking care to make sure that the wings and drumsticks are well coated. Season the outside of the skin with salt and pepper.
Fold the wings under the breast so that tips are hidden and truss the legs so that the lemons and onions in the cavity cannot fall out. Set the turkey aside.
Crumple some of your tin foil to create a platform that the turkey can rest on. The turkey should be about 2 inches from the bottom of the pan. Place the turkey on the platform and add water to the bottom of the pan. Depending on the size of your pan, you’ll need 4-8 cups. The water should cover the bottom of the pan but not come into contact with the turkey.
Cover the roasting pan with foil and roast for an hour and a half. Remove the tin foil at that point, and base the turkey with the pan juices. Cover the turkey breast and wings with the tin foil and return it to the oven. After 30 minutes, remove the tin foil from the turkey, baste and roast for another 20-30 minutes, until the breast is golden and the interior tempertaure of the turkey is 180 degrees farenheit.
Once the turkey is cooked, remove it from the roasting pan and allow it to cool for another 30 minutes, so that the natural juices can redistribute. While the turkey is cooling, make your pan gravy (recipe follows).
Serves 10-15, depending on the size of your turkey
1 TBS butter
4 TBS flour
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more as needed
2 cups poultry stock
1/2 tsp thyme
Skim the pan drippings to remove the majority of the fat. You should have about 3 TBS of fat left. Pour the fat and the rest of the pan drippings into a pan. Add 1 TBS butter and 4 TBS flour, and using a whisk, combine on a low heat, until the flour has browned. Add thyme and sautee for another minute. Add in the chicken stock and allow to simmer over a low heat, until the mixture thickens. Add the cream and stir to combine. Taste and add lemon juice to taste. This should cut the richness of the stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste.