Monday, November 30, 2009

Cooking My Way To Thanksgiving - Roast Turkey

What's Thanksgiving without turkey? I really like roast turkey. It tastes great when done properly. I hate overly dry turkey. But I've discovered a way to make really juicy turkey every year. Ever since that one time, I've been asked to make the turkey every year from then on. I start with a frozen turkey from the supermarket. I like Butterball or Stonyfield Farms. I know that fresh turkey from a farm would produce the best turkey flavor but I can't afford it. I wish it would be cheaper because then I would definitely buy one. Until then, a regular frozen turkey it is for me.
I take some garlic, herbs, onion, and an orange for aromatics. Cut them into smaller chunks so they fit easily into the cavity of the turkey. While alternating each ingredient, stuff the bird with the aromatics. They make the turkey taste really good from the inside out. Don't forget salt and pepper too. Next, I make some herbed butter. You can use any kind of herbs you want. I like rosemary, thyme, and sage. I take the butter and rub it all inside of the bird but mostly underneath the skin of the breast meat. This helps keep this part of the turkey really moist while the harder to roast parts come up to temperature. And now this turkey is ready for the bacon. I don't fold the wing tips in because they get covered by the bacon. Otherwise, they would be folded in to prevent burning. One of my methods for a juicy turkey is bacon. I wrap the bird in bacon twice during the entire roasting time. I like to get a thicker kind so it doesn't burn too quickly. Going from one end to the other, I wrap every inch of the exposed skin with bacon. I also put some leftover vegetables in the bottom of the pan to collect the juices. It makes for some good gravy. Cut the vegetables in big, thick pieces. They'll roast along with the turkey without burning. Then onto a rack in a pan and into oven to slowly roast. I take it out when the bacon is cooked and nice and crispy. I carefully removed the cooked bacon. The first batch of bacon is always for nibbling while dinner is being cooked. Then I add another layer of bacon on top. Then back into the oven again. Sometimes, the second batch of bacon is cooked before the turkey is cooked. I'll take the second batch off and return the bird back into the oven. This also allows the skin to become nice and crispy. This year, the turkey came out really good. It was really juicy and flavorful. So much so that people actually took a good amount of leftovers and I wasn't left with much turkey.

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