The funniest thing happened the day before Thanksgiving 6 years ago. There I was, big as a barn, pulling a ham out of the oven. It had been a long day of cooking so I went to lay down for a nap and as soon as my head hit the pillow – POP!- my water broke and my two babies were on their way. Five hours and some good drugs later, my husband and I were blessed with two healthy children. Our families ate the Thanksgiving dinner without us (they did bring us leftovers), but we couldn’t have been more thankful for the Thanksgiving gift we received. Since then, we have experienced all of the ups and downs that having young twins brings, and every year around Thanksgiving, we celebrate the gift we have been given.
There fore, this year (like most years) we will have birthday cake with our turkey, but since I’m guessing that your family does not have a birthday on Thanksgiving, I’ll tell you about the turkey instead of the cake.
When it comes to cooking the bird, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1 – make sure you thaw your turkey properly. That means in the fridge ( which takes about 3 days) or in a sink full of cool (not hot!) water. Not sitting on top of the counter, unless you want to make your whole family sick.
2 – Keep your oven low and allow plenty of time for cooking. 325 degrees is a good temperature at which to cook, and the bigger the bird the longer it takes! Think about two turkeys if you are feeding a large crowd instead of one giant fowl.
3 – This is one is really important. Ignore the pop-up timer and use a thermometer instead. As soon as the thickest part of the breast reaches 165 degrees, TAKE IT OUT OF THE OVEN!! Cover it in foil and let it rest. It will keep cooking to 170 and your turkey won’t be dry.
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all !!!
- 12-14 pound turkey, thawed
- 1 apple, quartered
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1 orange, quartered
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 2 sprigs each of rosemary, sage, and thyme
- ½ cup softened butter
- 1-2 t. kosher salt
- 1 t. fresh ground pepper
- 1 quart chicken stock
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and make sure you have moved your racks around so that the turkey will fit. Remove the neck and gizzards from the cavity of the turkey. Discard the giblets (or save for gravy) and place the neck in the bottom of a large roasting pan with a rack. Place the turkey on the rack, breast side up. Sprinkle the cavity with a little salt and pepper, then stuff with apple, orange, onion and lemon and 1 sprig of each herb.
- Remove the remaining herbs from the stems and mix with the butter and ½ t. each salt and pepper. Then, using your fingers, separate the skin from the breast meat forming a pocket between the meat and the skin. Spread half of the butter underneath breast skin doing your best to spread all the way to the front of the bird. Rub the rest of the butter on top of the skin, all over the bird. Season with the remaining salt and pepper.
- Pour the chicken stock in the bottom of the pan, place the turkey breast side down and roast for one hour. Flip the turkey breast side up, and continue to roast until the turkey breast reaches 165 degrees. Remove from the oven and let it rest, covered in foil at least 20 minutes. Use the pan dripping to make gravy. Carve and serve!