Note from Claudia: Elizabeth’s guest post was originally published in 2014, and since I recently found myself revisiting her recipe when making a turkey this past weekend, I thought it’d be great to share again. Love how easy she makes it for us all. Happy Thanksgiving!
There is something about the holidays that instills a little fear and anxiety in everyone. We tend to forget what the season is really about: family, love, friends, joy, and giving thanks. I want to ease a little of this pain by empowering every reader with the tools and weapons he or she may need to perfectly roast a turkey. I know that the idea of roasting a turkey seems like a daunting task to most, but once you have the basics down, it is no big deal. Keep your holiday menu simple, grab a glass of wine, and truly get to enjoy your family and friends this year!
Start by choosing the appropriately sized turkey for your family. My girlfriends and I made a night of turkey-roasting this weekend; we were only four people, so I picked a small turkey, about 10 pounds. Most turkeys are sold frozen; you will need to allow sufficient time for the turkey to defrost in your refrigerator. Once the turkey is defrosted and you are ready to start, you will need to get the turkey out of it’s packaging and give it a good rinse.
Most major brands leave the neck in the cavity along with a bag of the giblets. I personally toss these items straight into the trash, but you can keep them and use them in your gravy if desired. Once the turkey is clean pat it dry and place it on a flat surface.
Next, you will need to gather some ingredients. First, in a small bowl combine a 1/2 stick to 1 stick of butter with 1 Tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper. This mixture is going to go directly under the skin. Start working the skin away from the meat very carefully; the idea is to not rip the skin. Once you have the skin loose, start massaging in the butter mixture, as pictured.
(Those hands belong to my best friend since the second grade, and this was her first turkey! I was so incredibly impressed with how she jumped in ready to learn. She is an incredible wife and mother and I know that she is proud to add expert turkey maker to her list of accomplishments!)
As soon as this is done you can rub a little on the outside of the turkey as well. Next you will need to fold the wings in and under. This is actually really simple. Start by extending the wing outwards, taking it back, and tucking it under.
Now it is time to stuff the cavity with your aromatics. I used onion, celery, carrot, bay, lemon, garlic, thyme, and sage.
You are officially ready for the oven! Place your turkey on your roasting rack and into a 350-degree oven. You can calculate the cook time by multiplying the turkeys weight to 12 minutes. My turkey was 10 pounds, so it roasted in the oven for two hours. Once the timer goes off, pull your turkey out and let it rest for 20-30 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. This step is so important!
Your turkey is now ready to enjoy! I promise it will be perfectly crispy on the outside and moist on the inside if you follow the steps I listed. Also keep in mind that because your menu is simple does not mean that it won’t be impressive. The more you remove the extras, get down to the basics, and enjoy the process, the better!
Elizabeth Hopson Gentry, a native of Laredo, Texas, brings her appreciation of cross-cultural cooking to her unique approach to healthy cooking. Trained at the Culinary Institute and focussing on clean eating, heavy on the veggies, Elizabeth’s passion is helping everyone discover delicious, healthy fare.