• Jen Maffessanti

Roasted Turkey

Look, roasting a turkey is not that difficult, or that expensive. Here's what you need and how to do it.

  • 1 whole turkey (approx. 15 lbs), thaw

  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced

  • 1 medium yellow onion

  • 6 cloves of garlic, 3 lightly crushed, 3 minced

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature (unsalted, preferably)

  • 3 1/2 tsp. salt, divided (or to taste)

  • 3 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, divided (or to taste)

  • 2 tsp. dried thyme

  • 2 tsp. dried sage

  • 3 large carrots

  • 3 celery stalks

  • 1 medium lemon

  • 1 large apple

  • 1 large or 2 small chicken bouillon cubes

  • 2 1/4 cups water (hot is preferable)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.


Your turkey, if previously frozen, needs to be completely thawed. If it's fresh, no worries, you're already there. Be sure to remove the neck, giblets (if it came with any), and any plastic bits like a frame or stupid pop-up timer. Throw away the plastic bits, but you can save the turkey neck and/or giblets for other purposes (though we won't be using them here).


Peel and trim the carrots, then cut each of them into 3 large pieces each. Wash and trim the celery, and also cut them into 3 large pieces each. Peel and core the apple, slicing it into large wedges. Trim and peel the medium onion, and cut into wedges. Peel and lightly crush 3 of the garlic cloves. Scatter the carrots, celery, apple, onion, and 3 crushed garlic cloves in the bottom of a large roasting pan.


Thoroughly pat dry the turkey with paper towels, inside and out. Combine about 2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper, and season the internal cavity of the turkey with the mix to taste (I used the full amount.


In a separate bowl, combine the butter, herbs, minced garlic, finely diced small onion, 1 1/2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper, and the zest and juice of the lemon. If you don't have a dedicated zester, no worries, you can use a cheese grater (the fine-grate section) in a pinch. Do NOT throw away the remains of the zested and juiced lemon. There's still lemony goodness in them, and we'll use them a little later here.


With your hands (yes, your hands; if touching raw turkey gives you the heebs, wear a pair of disposable gloves), gently separate the skin of the turkey breast from the meat. Put the lemon pieces inside the turkey cavity. Place the turkey on top of the fruit and vegetable pieces in the roasting pan, breast side up.


Spread about half (maybe a little less) of the butter mixture underneath the skin of the turkey breast. Spread the rest of the butter mixture over the outside of the turkey. It's ok if a little bit falls off into the pan, but try to avoid it the best you can.


Combine the hot water and bouillon and gently pour into the bottom of the roasting pan.


Put the turkey in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Then drop the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Roast until the internal temperature of the meat taken at the thickest parts of the bird is 165 degrees, about 2-3 hours, probably. Be sure to baste the turkey with the accumulating juices at the bottom of the pan every 30 minutes or so. (If you don't have a baster, you can just spoon the liquid over the bird.) If the turkey starts to brown too quickly, you can cover it with foil to prevent burning.


Let the turkey rest for about 30 minutes before carving. Strain the drippings and reserve them for gravy.

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