Thanksgiving Roasted Turkey that keeps on giving
Thanksgiving Roasted Turkey that keeps on giving~ The not so intimidating thanksgiving turkey that's easy to make, even for a beginner, and is juicy and flavorful!
Here's the story about how I made my first thanksgiving meal for my newly married husband and I. Adam and I were good friends in high school and began dating at the end of senior year and all through University. I guess you call him my high school sweetheart. Adam proposed to me Valentine's Day weekend of our senior year at VCU. Valentine's Day has an extra special place in my heart and now I was to become a Balentine. The summer of graduation, we packed up all our earthly belongings...which sadly enough between the two of us barely fit in the used 4 runner we had just purchased (with the sale of our 2 cars combined). We headed out across the country from our hometown in Virginia to LA California to pursue our dreams, Adam working in visual effects for film and myself interior design. That fall, November 7 to be exact, we flew back to Virginia to be with all our family and friends for our wedding. We then headed to one of the most gorgeous parts of the country, Lake Tahoe for our honeymoon. Then back on to LA where we spent the next 10 years of our lives making the most amazing friends who became like family, building careers and starting a family of our own.
Ok, on to the Turkey dinner. I'll be honest, I felt a bit intimidated to make Adam and my first Thanksgiving dinner as newlyweds. It was also a bit bittersweet because we realized this would be the first of many holidays we would celebrate without our families. I was determined to make it exceptional! Umm... But wait, I have never cooked a turkey a day in my life! I strapped on my big girl boots, well in LA it was flip flops because even in November it's 70 degrees, and headed to the grocery store to get the bird. Somehow the butcher coerced me into getting the most ginormous 22 lb Turkey because it was free with the $75 worth of groceries I would spend and we were quite broke being recent graduates. He reminded me that I could freeze it and make other things from it. That I did!
A happy bird starts with the seasoning, inside and out. I like to prepare the turkey the night before to save time in the morning. Just remember to bring the turkey to room temperature before cooking.
Nicely browned, juicy, and ready for the big meal! Save your pan drippings to make my Gluten Free Turkey Gravy! And give my Turkey Stock a try while you're at it. This turkey truly does keep on giving!
Carve up your turkey ahead of time to make serving easier, and for a nice presentation. Leftover turkey? Try my Pulled Porkey recipe!
Thanksgiving Roast Turkey That Keeps on Giving
14-16 pound turkey, fresh or thawed
3 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 lemon quartered
1 medium onion peeled and quartered
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
1 large bunch fresh thyme
1 large bunch parsley
1 small bunch sage
1 small bunch rosemary
Neck and giblets
1 onion diced
1 celery stock diced
1 carrot diced
Some of the fresh herbs used in the turkey for flavor
4-6 cups of water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set oven rack at lowest position.
Remove the neck and giblets from inside the turkey. Discard or make stock for stuffing or gravy. To make stock, add neck and giblets to a medium sauce pan with about 4-6 cups of water, chopped onion, celery, carrots and herbs. Bring to a boil then simmer on low while the turkey roasts (2-3 hours).
Coat Roasting pan and rack with oil or cooking spray and place turkey in. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with quartered lemon and onion (reserving 1 onion quarter to tuck on the outside of the neck cavity), garlic and herbs. Rub the outside of the turkey with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.
Roast the turkey uncovered for about 2 ½ hours to 3 ½ hours for a 14-16 pound turkey or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Cooking times can very, so a good estimate is about 13 minutes of cooking per pound. Use an instant read thermometer to check the temp. Turkey is done when the temp reads 165-170 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh. Remove the turkey from oven, cover with aluminum foil and let it rest 30-60 minutes.
Carve and serve up to your hungry guests.