The Boy said that this was the best turkey EVER! As Heinous said, "This one just must have been the uber turkey. Sadly though, you may never surpass it." He's probably right. In fact, I know he's right. I'll go down in family Thanksgiving history as making the best turkey ever but will never be able to repeat it.
I may never surpass it but that doesn't mean that you can't take a shot at it.What have you got to lose. It's turkey! It's cheap! There is no great investment here with the exception of time and really that is not even that bad. I painted, read blogs, showered (our guests appreciated this), cleaned the guest bath (another appreciated thing. Is there a hostess of the year award? I should get one for this.), and basically screwed around between basting. Yeah, Yeah, I could have been setting the table, prepping the other accompanying dishes, making some starters, and chilling the wine (oh wait, I have a wine refrigerator. Best purchase last year. Do you think I could take this off on my taxes? Maybe as a work expense? I need wine to work!) but I didn't, Okay. I would much prefer to waste time then scurry around at the last minute.
This recipe calls for Herbes de Provence. Please don't be intimidated. Just because it has a frenchified name doesn't mean it's fancy. It can be picked up at most grocery stores. I refuse to make anything that has to be purchased at a specialty store, for a couple of reasons.
1. It's not cheap. If I'm anything I'm cheap. It's a throw back gene from my Scots Great-grandpa from Missouri.(He was so cheap he would hitchhike to St Louis rather than drive his own vehicle. He also wouldn't let my Grandmother, his DIL, wash his clothes everyday because washing them wears them out)
2. I'm lazy. If I had to drive to a specialty store to pick up 1 thing I would be exhausted. Much too exhausted to actually cook. I'd rather adapt a recipe than actually put out any effort.
Adapted from a recipe from Williams-Sonoma – Grilling & Roasting
2 Onions, each onion chopped into 8 large pieces
3 carrots, peeled & chopped into large pieces
4 stalks celery, chopped in large pieces.
1 lemon, halved or a couple of big squirts of lemon juice
3 tablespoons Herbes de
1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley or ½ cup dried parsley
1 medium sized Sweet Onion
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 cup oil packed black olives or 1 jar of olive tapenade
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees (165 C). Scatter the chopped carrot, celery and onions in the bottom of a large roasting pan with lid. Set a rack over the vegetables.
Rinse the turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the inside with the lemon, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
To make the seasoning paste, in a food processor, combine the sweet onion, parsley, olives, herbes de Provence, and pepper. Pulse until evenly chopped but not smooth; set aside. (I cheated. I’m lazy. So sue me. I used a jar of olive tapenade instead of the oil packed olives and minced the onion by hand.)
Carefully slide your fingers under the skin on the turkey breast, separating it from the flesh but leaving it attached on the sides. Spread the seasoning paste under the skin, in the wing sockets, and inside the cavity. Brush the skin with the olive oil and set the turkey on the rack.
Roast covered until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees. Approximately 3 ½ hours. After the first hour baste with butter. I used 1 full cube (sure I could have melted it and gone all gourmet but that's just not going to happen. I just took the whole cube and let the heat of the bird melt it. I'm just so fancy). At the second hour brush drippings to baste. Uncover when temperature reaches 180 degrees, turn on broiler. Crisp the skin under the broiling. Take out of the oven and let sit 20 to 30 minutes before carving.
* If you use a bigger turkey be sure to make more of the paste.
** I didn’t actually have any paste left to stuff in the cavity of the bird. I just squirted in some lemon juice and called it good. You could stuff lemons and onions up the turkey's butt if you feel the need.
*** I roasted the turkey just like I would if I had stuffed it. I just cut the time down. If you do the whole lemons and onion thing you’ll want to add some time.
**** A good thermometer is a must with poultry. It's that whole salmonella thing. I have a digital one with a timer and an alarm. It’s really cool. It fulfills my cooking and geek needs.
With Christmas coming up some of you may want to do another turkey. If so, you may want to give this a try. I will. If only to see if lightening will strike twice.