Saturday, November 29, 2008

Provençal Roasted Turkey

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.

Provençal Roasted Turkey

Adapted from a recipe from Williams-Sonoma – Grilling & Roasting

12# Turkey, or there abouts

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

Seasoning Paste:

3 tablespoons Herbes de Provence

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.




  1. It's only 9am, but I want some of that turkey. Right now.

  2. I'm cheap too, don't worry. That sounded really good, I'm filing it away for Jamie to make someday soon...

  3. Few things- Sorry it's been a few days. My laptop wasn't working well and I couldn't get your site to load!
    Second- Totally hostess of the year.
    Third- Wine Chiller? A definite write-off.
    Fourth- Next time you make this turkey, can I come over?!?!?!!?

  4. It sounds yummy!

    Turkey isn't cheap here.

    What is DIL?

  5. Maybe I'll try this next year. I only cook turkey once a year. And by the way, what a scam the Dewey Decimal Sysytem is. Thanks for the comment, and Cheers!!

  6. Just reading it makes me hungry! Our turkey was dry. Dust dry. Pass the gravy dry. (You get it..)

  7. Well, since I HAVE to do another turker for Christmas....I want to do your recipe!



  8. I love roasted turkey. I'll be making turkey pot pie with our leftovers. Yum! (Recipe to follow in tomorrow's post.) I did post today -- don't faint -- another installment of the untitled short story.


  9. That recipe is making my mouth water. I'm totally saving this recipe for our Christmas turkey. Or New Years turkey. Or Saturday turkey.

  10. CDA: Nothing wrong with turkey for breakfast.

    Casey: Cheap is good.

    DeeMarie: You're welcome anytime.

    Mum-me: At Thanksgiving turkey's are dirt cheap. I spent 0.39 cent per pound. Please don't ask me to do the conversion.

    Matt-Man: Dewey Decimal System is a scam and Mr. Dewey was a wacko.

    Jen: Sorry your turkey was dry. Nothing worse if I remember correctly.

    Linda: Help yourself.

    Lacy: Read the next installment. Loved it.

    Goodfather: I hope you like it. Let me know how it goes.

  11. That turkey sounds awesome! If I have an oven by Christmas, I might just have to attempt this one!

  12. Lightening never strikes twice in the same place. So you'll have to move. Or break into the neighbors house to use their oven. Any neighbors going out of town for Xmas? I guess you could always ask them to use their oven but where would the fun be in that? A break in turkey cooking would be much funner. Why am I putting so much thought into this?

    I have herbs de provence btw. I don't think I've ever used it so I don't know why I have it.

  13. Maybe tomorrow morning. With eggs?

  14. Yes, thanks for enlightening me. I use SIL all the time so I don't know why DIL didn't make sense. (Maybe I don't like to think that my MIL and FIL would refer to me as a DIL.)