When I was 12 years old there was a contest at school where you had to guess how much a turkey they had on display weighed. My guess turned out to be correct – 22 pounds.
I won! I won!
I lugged my hefty prize out to the pick-up circle after school, proudly presenting our Thanksgiving turkey to my mom. For some reason, she didn’t seem nearly as excited about a win of these proportions.
It may be the symbol of Thanksgiving, but the pursuit of a juicy roasted turkey is also the bane of many a cook’s existence. Techniques abound to get it “just right” – brining, smoking, deep-frying, grilling, breast-side down, butter under the skin, butter on top of the skin…everyone’s got their go-to favorite approach. This recipe, from the outside of an organic turkey package, is for a straightforward herb-roasted bird and is quite tasty. The most important thing is to not overcook it.
I finally, once and for all, bought a meat thermometer – the kind that stays in the roast and beeps when the desired temperature has been reached. For less than $20, that little thermometer took all the guesswork out of cooking the turkey to the right temperature.
Turkey victory shall be mine!
Rosemary Roasted Turkey
From the back of an O Organics Young Turkey package
3/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt to taste
12 pound turkey (thawed, if necessary)
Preheat oven to 325°F.
In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, basil, Italian seasoning, black pepper and salt. Set aside.
Wash the turkey inside and out; pat dry. Remove any large fat deposits. Loosen the skin from the breast. This is done by slowly working your fingers between the breast and the skin. Work it loose to the end of the drumstick, being careful not to tear the skin. Using your hand, spread a generous amount of the rosemary mixture under the breast skin and down the thigh and leg. Rub the remainder of the rosemary mixture over the outside of the breast. Use toothpicks to seal skin over any exposed breast meat.
Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan. Add about 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the pan. Roast in the preheated oven 3 to 4 hours, or until the internal breast temperature reaches 170°F.