Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!! Since we will go to my sister's house today for the family gathering I got to cooking yesterday for us. It's great to be able to do just a little cooking today to take to share --my grandmother's cornbread dressing and a classic corn pudding--but we also like having just what we want and being able to have that yummy cold turkey sandwich with lots of black pepper and Duke's Mayonnaise!
I spent a little more than I have before for the turkey. I'm trying to get serious about food with less junk in it. So this beautiful 13.21 pound bird came from The Fresh Market and is advertised to be vegetarian fed plus antibiotic and growth hormone free . At $2.29 per pound this meaty bird is not that expensive as it will feed us several meals. I picked it up Tuesday and immediately put it --in the wrapper--in a 16 quart stockpot full of water in the fridge so it would be ready for cooking yesterday. 'Fresh' does not mean it won't be iced up and it was.
After a rinse I let it air dry on a baking sheet while I prepped the roaster and made the herb butter. I sliced two onions into thirds and placed them on the flat rack. I added to that two stalks of celery with leaves and an entire stem of fresh sage(about 10 leaves) and three stems of fresh thyme. For the butter I used a TBSP each of rubbed dried sage and fresh thyme into about 8 oz of softened Kerrygold Irish Butter. I loosened the skin over the breast and rubbed the mixture under the skin and then over the skin of the bird, making sure to slide some fresh sage leave under the breast skin.
In the cavity went half an onion, a whole lemon pierced all over with a fork, a couple of stems of fresh thyme, a stem of fresh sage and a stalk of celery. The truss is a bit unusual but I just wanted to pull the wings in a bit. I used to never truss but I've found it really beneficial in getting the thighs to cook evenly so I'm a convert now.
I started with a 400 degree oven (convection) and tented the breast for 30 minutes. I then lowered the temp to 335 and every half hour repositioned the turkey in the oven and basted with butter. I grabbed this pic with my phone at the two hour mark. It looked so beautiful but I didn't think there was any way it could be done. The meat thermometer told me differently so I covered it and let it rest on the counter.
It was perfect! I tool the whole breast off of one side and sliced it. Even after resting the skin was deliciously crispy and the meat moist and tender. I was impressed with the amount of meat on it. I broke it down into slices for sandwiches, bones plus some pan drippings into the freezer for stock and am planning several dishes for the rest.
I am so excited about the prospect of lots of holiday cooking this year. Hopefully I'll actually break out my camera and take some pictures and write it down. And of course share!