YES!!!! IT'S FINALLY HERE!!!! ITS TURKEY TIME!!!!! Time to make sure you have your turkey ordered ......or purchased if you have a frozen turkey. I am not a huge fan of frozen, I like to order a fresh kill turkey. You can actually pick up your turkey a couple days in advance, I will probably pick up mine on Tuesday. Just remember to store it upside down in your refrigerator. Meaning, breast side down....so the juices remain in the breast until you are ready to cook it and do not drain out.
Depending on the timing of your holiday meal...you need to figure out when to take it out of the fridge. You will want to take it out sometime before. You never want to put it cold into the oven. This will definitely change the oven temp and the cooking times will not be accurate. The meat will also not cook evenly, so it is very important to let the turkey sit out, uncovered, for at least an hour. I like to uncover it...remove the extras inside...wash and clean the turkey....and let it sit on the rack in the roasting pan for about an hour and a half before stuffing. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, do the same with your stuffing. Take it out of the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before stuffing the turkey. The last item you need to take out of your refrigerator is the Herb & Garlic Butter that you have prepared!!! This needs to be room temp as well and soft enough to rub all over the turkey.
OK ....time to get this turkey show on the road!!!
So, as I said... by now, your turkey should be washed, cleaned and well rested on the counter. I use a traditional roasting pan with rack inside to let it sit on.
Cut up your onions, celery and carrots in large pieces and put in the bottom of the pan under the rack.....
Place your rack in the pan and pour in the whole box of chicken stock...This will help keep the whole turkey moist during the cooking process. But the steam will be very flavorful because of the chicken stock and all of the vegetables. Now place the rack into the pan and place the turkey on top.
Next, we will separate the skin from the breast. Gently pushing your hand under the skin separating it slowly as you go but try not to tear!!
Take a small handful of the Herb & Garlic Butter and push it up and under the skin. Do both sides generously. Putting this on both sides of the skin will make a great crispy skin when done.
Next.....rub it all over the outside....completely and generously!!!!
OK....you are now ready to stuff that baby!!!!! A handful at a time...stuff it full with that delicious stuffing!!!!
Great....your turkey looks amazing!!!
So finally, just drizzle the whole bird with olive oil and season generously with salt & pepper!!!
Please....do not forget the meat thermometers....I like to put one in the breast and one in the thigh to be double sure it is cooked perfectly!! You don't want to cut into a turkey and it is raw!! That's my worst nightmare!!!
We are ready for the oven!! Make a tent with foil. Meaning cover very loosely like a tent. Do not seal all around the pan. We will leave it on until the last hour of cooking. At that point, we will remove it to crisp up the skin.
The cooking time will vary with weight, how stuffed it is, temperature of stuffing, how many times you open your oven to baste. But the basic rule of thumb is 20 minutes per pound. But....this is why thermometers are sooooo important. There are too many factors that can vary but a thermometer will tell you exactly when its done.....165 degrees!!! Check both places...the breast and the thigh!!! You can also baste this baby every hour or so....and don't forget to take the foil off for the last hour of cooking. My baby is looking delicious!!!!
When your remove it from the oven, please be sure to let it rest for about 30 minutes before you cut it!! It needs time to rest and the juices to settle and not run out if you cut into it too quickly. You can remove the veggies from the bottom of the pan and make a gravy with the drippings at this point also.
In our family....my mom, GIGI, as you all know her, is the master carver!!! Give her an electric knife and she can cut up a turkey like no other!!!
Well...GIGI made a beautiful display and we all enjoy an amazing meal!!! And Thanksgiving before Thanksgiving with some great friends!!!
From Nana's Kitchen to yours.......HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!
ENJOY!!! ALL GOOD STUFF!!!!!
BTW....look at the reaction that this one had when she came home, saw the turkey under that foil and found Thanksgiving before Thanksgiving dinner on the table!!! TEARS!!!!! Do my kids love food....or what!!!