It’s not often that I make turkey on a non-holiday weekend, but our supermarket gave me a free turkey last week; and I was visiting friends for Easter (the first holiday dinner I haven’t cooked in many years). Without the holiday pressure, I tried a rather un-conventional version of a Thanksgiving Turkey in the middle of April; results 5-star.
Herb-Roasted Turkey is brined in salt water for only 4 to 6 hours. To get crisp skin, it’s air-dried, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 4 hours. I made an herb paste in the food processor from: parsley, thyme, shallot, garlic, sage, lemon zest, dijon and 1/4 cup of olive oil. I separated the skin from the turkey (working my fingers under the skin), and slathered herb paste underneath the skin the breasts, legs and thighs. I then made pockets in each breast (stabbing the breast with a paring knife, swinging the tip inside to make a 4-to-5 inch inside cavity, with only a 1-1/2 inch incision on the outside). I stuffed each pocket with another tablespoon of paste. Then rubbed the outside of the skin with the remaining paste.
I cooked it in a hot oven, 400-degrees, breast-side down for the first hour, then flipped it (breast-side up) for another hour and 15 minutes. A flavorful turkey done in just 2-1/4 hours.
- The recipe says to air dry the turkey in the refrigerator between 8 to 24-hours, but because I didn’t start yesterday I let it dry for as long as I could afford (4 hours). However, it was okay because the skin came out crisp.
- The skin was done when the breast meat was only 135-degrees. So, I covered the breast with aluminum foil to allow the turkey to come up to temperature.
- I forgot to rotate the turkey half way through roasting. So one side was considerably darker than the other.
Cost: $3. (for missing herbs). The free turkey was labeled as $15.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess? Medium.
Started: 3pm Ready: 6pm. Of course, I started brining at 6AM.