How to Roast a Turkey, Thanksgiving, Umbria, Italy

Roasting A Turkey

It’s getting to be the time of year when I regret the loss of buying a proper turkey, known as New York Dressed.  Here’s a post “Cock-a-Doodle-Do” about my feelings about that!  We really enjoy a proper and properly cooked turkey.  We rarely bother anymore due to the unavailability of New York Dressed birds these days in B. C.  If you know a “grower, let me know!

That being said, I look back with fond memories of the New Dressed turkey dinners we had in the past.  Every chef has their method of how to cook a turkey.  Here’s how I do it.  You will see that for the most part the turkey is roasted breast down.  What this does is make the turkey self-basting and it cooks it faster.  All the lovely juices melting down into the breast!

To Roast The Turkey:

Remove the turkey from the fridge 1 hour before cooking. Set aside the neck and giblets to make your gravy.

You can make the stock for the gravy the day before, keep it in the fridge until an hour or so before you want to make your delicious gravy.

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

If you are stuffing your turkey, do it now. Truss it up with skewers and kitchen twine. Rub the bird all over with EVO, season liberally with kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Place turkey, breast down on a rack set in a roasting pan. Immediately place into the preheated oven, turning down the heat to 350 F for smaller turkeys and 325 F for birds over 12 pounds. Roast for 12 –  15 minutes per pound. You can always add time, if needed. Halfway through roasting, rotate the turkey in the oven and continue roasting. Check the turkey, 1 hour before your estimated roasting time is up, with a instant-read thermometer, the temperature needs to be 165 F at the thickest part of the inner thigh muscle (not touching bone). At this point, if you wish, you can turn the turkey over, baste and return to the oven until it is done, basting once more. It might only need to cook for 30 – 45 minutes. When done, remove from the oven and let stand ½ hour before carving. Old cookbooks ask for 180 to 185 F internal temperature, but that is way too long and you will, indeed, end up with the  proverbial “overcooked, dry turkey”.

Helpful tip:  To making the “base/stock” for your gravy.  

Chop up the some of the liver, the giblets and the heart.  Wipe the neck with paper towels.  Heat up a sauté pan; add 1 Tbsp. each oil & butter and brown the neck on both sides.  Add in the chopped up bits; sauté them until lightly browned; add 1/2 a medium onion, one small diced carrot, 1 stalk diced celery and sauté until softened; add a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, a couple sprigs of Italian (flat leaf) parsley, 6 black peppercorns and 2 cups of chicken stock or water.  Bring to a boil; cover and turn heat to simmer; simmer for 2 hrs.  Let the base cool; strain with a sieve into a bowl; place in the fridge until ready to make your gravy, the fat will harden on the top; remove it before using. 

Helpful Cat Secret:  cats love the meat off the neck and I admit it here and now, so do we! 

Helpful tip:  Jamie Oliver has a neat tip for keeping the bird hot for an hour or so.   If you did not see that programme, what he did was cover the turkey with 2 layers of  tin foil, then lay 2 tea towels over top. We did it and it works!


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