Yes, believe it or not, but I have successfully avoided making a turkey for the last 30+ years (my whole adult life).
Honestly, I have always wanted to make a turkey, but have never had the opportunity. I usually visit family for the holidays; and am relegated to su chef status. Therefore, I do a lot of prep, veggies and dessert dishes, but never the main “protein” portion of the meal(s).
That said, I picked up a frozen turkey a while back, and it has been happily sitting in my sub-zero freezer just waiting for me to get up the courage to make it.
TODAY WAS THE DAY! Never mind that I have to figure out what to do with all that turkey meat; but I really wanted to give this poultry a try. I must say, it certainly looked wonderful when I pulled it out of the oven.
I also used a very old (and in perfect condition, since I don’t recall the last time I used it) roasting pan, black, speckled, with large lid/top. Everything I have read about making a turkey on the web says you should use a short sided roasting pan, don’t cover it (except maybe with some foil), put it on a fancy dancy roasting rack, blah, blah, blah.
Well, I am here to tell you – DON’T THROW OUT YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S ROASTING PAN! This turkey turned out great! Look at that beautiful golden color!
I didn’t have a roasting rack, so I just wadded up some foil into about 8 different balls and strategically placed them in the bottom of the pan – so there! No fuss, no muss – they get thrown out and I don’t have to try to clean them either – HA! 🙂
As for the turkey – I took my lead from a friend who said she makes some of the best turkeys. Stuffed some celery, 1/2 onion cut into quarters (brown skin left on), a handful or so of baby carrots I had in the freezer, and a clove of garlic. I didn’t have any fresh rosemary, so I took about a teaspoon of dried stuff and stuck that in the cavity as well. I took a stick of butter, cut into about 4 pieces (using my hands), flattened with my hands and put them under the skin, on top of the breast meat. Then I took some olive oil and drizzled it on the outside of the bird, then smeared it all over. Put about 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the pan (why? I don’t really know, it just sounded like a good idea), put the roaster top on, and popped the bird in my oven set at 350*.
I also read that you should baste the bird every 1/2 hour. Well… I forgot that part – OPS!
While the bird was roasting, I took the neck and innards and made some turkey stock with it; throwing it in a pot of water with onion, carrots, celery, a bit of rosemary, sage and thyme, along with a little salt and pepper. A little taste test revealed a very nice stock to use for gravies, etc. The neck meat and innards will be a wonderful treat for my dogs.
Fourish hours later – checked the temperature of the bird – 200* breast, 200* thigh, and the bird was done!
I let the bird sit, in the pan, covered for 1/2 hour after taking it out of the oven. I was rather worried that the breast meat would be woefully dry, since I forgot to baste… Well, it was not only moist, it fell apart when I was cutting it, it was so tender! The legs and wings came off the bird easy as can be with the meat slipping of the bones as well.
I would have to gage this little roasting “experiment” a resounding SUCCESS!
Now to figure out what to do with all that turkey meat! Any suggestions?
Turkey pot pie,
Turkey Salad… I am open to suggestions. 🙂