We are hosting Thanksgiving this year and I've asked Shane to handle the turkey. So naturally, he wanted to do a test run. We found a recipe from Sur la table that looked promising. Something about starting with the breast-side down and herb butter under the skin sounded intriguing.
It was the best turkey I have ever had. He followed the directions exactly and it was perfectly moist and unbelievably flavorful. The drippings made scrumptious gravy.
Just in case the link is temporary, here's all the details:
Classic Herb Roasted Turkey
Serves: Yields 10 to 12 servings
- 1 (12 to 14 pound) turkey, neck and giblets removed
- 2 to 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, divided
- 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons each minced fresh thyme, sage, and rosemary leaves
- 1 to 2 cups chicken or turkey stock, as needed
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 large stalks celery, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Procedures:Buy your turkey (and thaw if needed) two days before the big day so you have time to salt the meat and dry the skin in the refrigerator. Make sure to save the turkey neck and giblets, except the liver, to make a delicious stock to flavor your gravy.
Wash the turkey thoroughly in cold water and pat completely dry with paper towels. Place the turkey on a large cutting board and run your hand gently between the skin and meat to loosen the skin, being careful not to tear the skin. Loosen as much skin as possible over the breasts, legs, and thighs. Rub the meat with kosher salt to coat the meat evenly, again taking care not to rip the skin. Transfer the turkey to a baking dish large enough to hold it and place uncovered in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. and place a rack in the lower third. Remove turkey from the refrigerator and transfer to a cutting board. Place ½ of the melted butter in a small mixing bowl, add chopped herbs and stir to combine. Rub the turkey meat with the butter mixture, coating all parts equally. Gently stretch skin to cover breast meat completely. Coat turkey skin with remaining melted butter. Using kitchen twine, tie the legs together at the ankles and tuck wing tips under breasts.
Place a heavy roasting rack inside a large roasting pan and lightly oil the rack. Flip turkey breast side down and place on top of rack. Place turkey in oven and roast for 60 minutes, turning the roasting pan every 30 minutes to ensure even browning. Check roasting pan to make sure pan drippings do not scorch, adding stock or water as needed.
After 60 minutes, remove roasting pan from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Using turkey lifters or clean kitchen towels, carefully lift turkey off the rack and flip breast side up. Return turkey to rack, breast side up, and baste with pan juices. Scatter onion, carrot, and celery pieces across bottom of roasting pan, stirring to coat with pan juices. Return turkey to oven and continue roasting until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 170 degrees. Remove turkey from oven, place roasting pan on a heatproof surface, and tent turkey loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm. Rest turkey for at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Strain pan drippings, pressing on solids to remove liquid, and reserve drippings to make gravy.
To serve, remove legs and thighs using a sharp carving knife. Slice the breasts into ¼-inch slices and place on a serving platter with legs and thighs. Serve immediately.