Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Thanksgiving Feast Week Day 1-The Turkey

To start off this week I am going to give you the easiest and most delicious Turkey recipe ever.  I promise your breast will be moist, and your thighs will be finger lickin good!  Hands down the best Turkey anywhere!  And it's so easy, anyone, and I mean ANYONE can do it.

I have made a few Thanksgiving dinners in my day, and on my quest to perfection I have finally found the perfect recipe for me.  Warning: your Turkey will not be in 1 whole piece.  It will be in 2 when you are finished.  Legs will be cut away from the rest of the Turkey body.  The main reason I do this is because Thighs take longer to cook, and if you cook the breast and thigh together your breast is going to turn out dry and you will ruin your turkey.  I don't care how much you baste it!  ;)  So here we go....are you ready for the best Turkey of your life!?  Happy Thanksgiving!  I'll be here all week! 

1 Turkey (20-22lbs)
4 Carrots
4 Onions
4 Celery Stalks
7 Granny Smith Apples
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
5 Tbs. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 bunch fresh Tyme
1 bunch fresh Rosemary

For the compound butter
2 1/2 cups Butter softened
1/4 cup fresh Tyme, chopped
1/4 cup fresh Sage, chopped
1 Tbs. fresh Rosemary, chopped
3 fresh Bay Leaves chopped
1 Lemon, zested
1 tsp. Pepper
1 tsp. Salt

Separate the turkey legs from the breast, keeping the backbone intact and the legs still attached in the center. Cut the remaining backbone piece from the breast and save (use it in the roasting pan when you cook the turkey). 

Peel the carrots and onions and roughly chop. Roughly chop the celery. Cut the apples in quarters and remove the cores. Place 1/3 of the vegetables and apples in a container large enough to accommodate the turkey with the vegetables and apples (I use a 5 gallon bucket from Home Depot or Lowes). 

Season the turkey inside and out with salt and pepper. Rub the cider vinegar into the turkey. Place the breast into the container and top with 1/3 of the vegetables and apples. Add the legs and top with the remaining vegetables and apples. Place in the refrigerator and let marinate overnight.

The next day preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking so the turkey can come to room temperature. Place the vegetables and apples into the bottom of a roasting pan. Place the legs, skin side up, on top of the vegetables, being sure there is room to add the breast later. Put the legs in the oven to cook first, about 1 hour 45 minutes.

While the legs are cooking, make the Herb Compound Butter. Place the Butter in the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment. Add all the chopped herbs and lemon zest. Add the salt and pepper and mix for 1 minute until herbs are evenly dispersed. Place the Butter-herb mixture in a thick line along the long side of an 18-inch long piece of plastic wrap. Roll into a tube, twist the ends until tight, and then place in the refrigerator to set but not get hard, 30 to 40 minutes.

Slide your hand underneath the skin on top of the turkey breast to separate the skin from the breast. Cut one of the ends off the Butter tube. Squeeze half of the mixture under the skin on top of one of the breasts and the remaining onto the other breast.

After the legs have cooked, place the thyme and rosemary in the roasting pan. Place the breast on top of the herbs. Roast until both the legs and breast reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 2 hours and 30 minutes longer.

This is the most important step of all....once you remove the bird from the oven, let it rest for 15 minutes before cutting it. Now dig in and have a great Turkey Day!!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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