I don’t roast turkeys very often, and hardly ever in September. But last week my freezer, which contained a turkey, stopped working overnight, so in the morning I had a fully thawed turkey on my hands. What to do, what to do…?
Time to practice up for the holidays, turkey-lovers. After this, I’m thinking that I might start roasting turkey more often. The prep time is minimal, the cooking time is long but effortless, and the result is a huge amount of juicy, buttery, herb-and-garlic flavored turkey. Slice it and serve it with mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, and an autumn salad the first night; put it on thick slices of bread, top it with a slice of Swiss or Cheddar, and broil till bubbly the next day for lunch; then throw together an easy slow-cooker soup or, if you’re feeling handy with the bread-dough, make some Turkey Quesadilla Calzones.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lower the rack to the lowest position. Get out a large roasting pan and toss a wee bit of oil in the bottom and swish it around.
Gather one head of garlic, minced; 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, at room temperature; and about 2/3 cup each of fresh oregano and parsley.
Rinse and mince the herbs. You can also substitute different herbs, add in more, use less, what-have-you. It’s your turkey, baby.
Now you’ll want to unwrap your turkey, remove the giblets, and rinse the whole thing in cold water. Transfer to your roasting pan, breast side down. If you have a turkey with one of the handy little “I’m-done-now” thermometers, it will be on the bottom at this point.
Get a sharp paring knife and make a few slits in the skin of the turkey. You don’t need a whole lot, just every few inches or so. Using a spoon or your fingers, stuff some of that herbed butter into each little slit. Salt and pepper well, then turn the bird so it is breast side up. Repeat the process, but rub any remaining butter over the outside of the turkey before you salt and pepper it. Season, add a 1/2 cup of water to the pan, and then slide it into the oven.
You’ll want to follow standard instructions for roasting the turkey. Most turkeys come with a chart on their packaging, but here is another one if yours is awol or got destroyed in the unwrapping process.
Check your turkey about halfway through the recommended cooking time. If the skin is browning too quickly, cover it with foil or the lid to the roasting pan.
Once the turkey is cooked through (and not a moment longer!), remove it from the oven and let it sit and rest for a few minutes. Just before serving, slice it open and ladle some of that amazing herb-butter juice from the pan right onto the meat.
It’s Thanksgiving every day…