As turkey recipes abound, I’m just like everyone else. I only cook a turkey once a year, so I watch all the cooking shows, and read the latest news on turkey cooking. When Michael Symon draped his turkey in a cheesecloth last fall on the Chew and said “this bird will not need basting,” I knew I was in. I didn’t use his Greek flavor profile, choosing my own, so feel free to adjust the recipe according to your favorite seasonings. I used oranges, thyme, sage, rosemary and shallots to season the bird and I made my own stock.
The seasonings and spices are not as important as the technique. I think you could use chicken stock, salt and pepper and still come out a winner. But, I know you’ll fuss with your favorite herbs just like I do.
I’m in good company with all the major chefs like Bobby Flay and Micheal Symon who don’t brine their turkey. Bobby Flay says that brining is for folks who overcook their turkey. A fresh turkey should not need brining. However, there is something called a dry brine, which is the secret to my roast chicken. You simply salt the turkey the day before, wrap in plastic, not unlike the way I roast a chicken.
What kind of turkey do you use?
I think this is of paramount importance if you want a good tasting, healthy turkey. I always buy a fresh turkey from a reliable source. I don’t think you need to spend $100 on a turkey, but I don’t recommend looking for a bargain. Do your homework. Dismiss hormone laden turkeys that don’t ever cook, and buy the best turkey you can find within reason. Having said that, even the $100 turkey can be a disaster if it’s cooked to death.
This is a tested recipe using a turkey which was humanely raised and vegetarian fed, free of antibiotics and growth hormones. It was absolutely perfect. Get my turkey gravy recipe here.
Tell me, do you watch cooking shows and use the recipes for your Thanksgiving dinner?
- 1 12-15 pound turkey (adjust amount of turkey stock for larger turkey)
- 2 oranges, quartered
- 4 large shallots, peeled
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary
- bunch of fresh sage leaves
- 2 celery sticks, cut into thirds
- cheesecloth (large enough for triple layer over turkey)
- Turkey stock, Recipe follows (can use a chicken stock, chicken broth)
- TURKEY STOCK INGREDIENTS
- 1 turkey neck
- 1 chicken back or chicken necks (can use turkey wings)
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 onions, quartered
- 2 carrots, chopped in thirds
- 3 stalks celery, chopped in thirds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon pepper
- 6 fresh sage leaves
- Clean turkey, removing everything inside. Check all cavities to remove included gizzards, liver, turkey neck, etc.
- Salt turkey generously, wrap in plastic, refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to roast, Wash salt off. Pat Dry. Allow to sit at room temperature 1 hour.
- Use warm/cool stock. Heat up first if taking out of refrigerator. Allow to cool.
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Pat inside of turkey dry. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stuff turkey with celery, oranges and sage, thyme, shallots, rosemary.
- If desired, place a few sage leaves in between breast flesh and breast skin.
- Place turkey in roasting pan, over a rack.
- Cover entire turkey withcheesecloth. Pour all of the turkey stock over the cheesecloth.
- Roast for 45 minutes at 425.
- Lower to 350, and roast until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180.
- Allow to rest 30 minutes before carving.
- TURKEY STOCK INSTRUCTIONS
- Roast turkey and chicken parts in oven for 45 minutes at 350.
- Add chopped vegetables. Turn meat over and place over vegetables.
- Continue to roast for 35 minutes.
- Add turkey and vegetables and all pan drippings into 4 quarts of boiling water. Bring to simmer, and simmer for 2 hours on low heat.
- Cool. Skim fat. Use immediately or make day before, refrigerate.