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Archive for November, 2011

…is quite an ordeal, and we experienced our own first turkey-roasting this weekend.  We decided it would probably be a good idea to go ahead and have a faux thanksgiving dinner while it is just the two of us, so we could figure out the process with slightly less stress.  We stretched the meal over a couple of days to make plenty of sides, and our full menu included the turkey (of course), gravy, bacon green beans, rice and mushroom stuffing, scalloped potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.   I am not going to lie to you.  If you have never roasted a turkey, it is not as easy as your mother (who has most likely been doing this for years) makes it look.  However.  This recipe for lemony roasted turkey from Rachael Ray is probably as easy as it gets, with absolutely incredible results!!

For Rachael’s amazing turkey you need:

  • 1 14-16 lb. turkey, rinsed/patted dry–save the giblets and neck to make stock
  • 4 tbsp. butter, at room temp.
  • 1 lemon, zested and halved
  • 2 onions, roots chopped off and halved with skin on
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • salt and pepper

Here is where the fun begins…as turkey newbies, we fell into the typical trap of not allowing enough time for our very frozen bird to thaw.  Give it at least three days in the fridge!  We had to push our feast back a week, but it ended up working out.  On roasting day, cut off the first two joints of the wing, but leave the drumettes attached.  Keep the wings for your stock.  Let your turkey come up to room temperature in its roasting pan for about 2 hours.

When time gets close, aka 20 minutes out, start heating your oven to 400 with the bottom rack in the lowest position.  Meanwhile, mash together the butter and lemon zest.  Proceed to smear it all over your bird (we are talking Anne Burrell love-your-meat style), then squeeze all of the lemon juice over it.  Stuff 2 onion halves and the sliced lemon in the cavity, and the other 2 onion halves in the pan.  Sprinkle on the thyme and salt/pepper to taste.  Tie the legs of the turkey together, and pop the pan in the oven for an hour.

When the first hour is up, rotate the pan a half-turn, lower the heat to 350, and roast for another hour.  Then, after the second hour has passed, baste the turkey with the juices in the pan.  Continue to roast the turkey for another half hour or so, basting often, until a meat thermometer stuck into the inner thigh registers 150-155.  Once you reach the golden temperature, use tongs to pour any juices from the turkey cavity into the pan, and save all the drippings for some great gravy.  Let the bird rest at least 30 minutes before carving, and get to work on said gravy.

Well, before you make the gravy and while the turkey is a-roasting, make you own super-easy turkey stock.  Simply save the neck, wings, and giblets (not the liver), and toss them into a big pan along with a a quartered onion (skin on), one chopped celery rib, some parsley and thyme, 1/2 tsp. coarse salt,  1/4 tsp. whole black peppercorns, and 2 1/2 quarts water.  Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then knock the heat back to low, partially cover (pretty sure we forgot this step…), and simmer gently for 2 1/2 hours.  Strain off any solids and your stock is ready to go.

For the lemon cream gravy you need:

  • 2 1/2 cups pan drippings (if you don’t have enough, add some chicken stock)
  • zest of one lemon (use a vegetable peeler to peel into strips)
  • 4 cups of your homemade stock (or 2 cups chicken broth + 2 cups water)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • salt and pepper

I won’t lie: Schatzi made the gravy.  And it is so fantastic–it’s one of those things you will want to swim in…anyway.  Remember those onion halves from the roasting pan?  Chuck their skins and pour all of the drippings and solids from the roasting pan into a measuring cup.  Let the liquid settle (you can toss in some ice cubes to speed up the process), then skim off/discard any fat.  Return your 2 1/2 cups of drippings and solids and the lemon strips (+premade  stock if you need) to the roasting pan.

Put the flour in a bowl and gradually stir in 1 cup stock.  Slowly mix in 1/2 cup more stock.  Then, place the roasting pan over two burners on the stove over medium-high (Rachael, you are a genius.  Thanks for sparing me an extra dirty pan!).  Bring the drippings to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits as you go, then whisk in the flour paste mixture and return to a simmer while whisking constantly.  Slowly whisk in the remaining 2 1/2 cups of stock and bring to a boil, still whisking constantly, until the gravy is nice and thickened.  Season with salt and pepper, then whisk in the cream and thyme.  Discard the lemon zest strips, and the gravy is complete!

The remaining sides will follow…but wow.  This turkey was incredible.  Juicy, and so full of flavor.  Don’t even get me started on that gravy!!!

*sc

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