Saturday, November 27, 2021

Cafe Delites: Garlic Herb Butter Roast Turkey

Roasting a turkey has always made me nervous.  You're on the spot for the main protein at one of the biggest holiday meals of the year.  This is like the Olympics of cooking.  And you don't want to let the family down.  I've tried many recipes over the years, but it seems like the perfect turkey (moist breast, browned crispy skin) is pretty elusive.  Luckily this recipe actually comes shockingly close to perfection.  And it's really not that hard to make, although crossing your fingers and hoping luck is on your side is also not a bad idea.

Note:  Be careful turning the turkey - I burned my finger on the pan trying to flip this big boy.  Totally worth it, though.

Garlic Herb Butter Roast Turkey
From Cafe Delites

Roast turkey:
1 (12-pound) whole turkey, skin on (fully defrosted, washed, giblets and neck removed)
3 heads garlic, cut in half horizontally, divided use
3 slices lemon, divided use
6 sprigs thyme, divided use
6 sprigs rosemary, divided use
½ cup olive oil, divided use

Herb butter:
4 ounces unsalted butter
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
4 teaspoons minced garlic
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F for standard ovens, or 390°F for convection. Lower oven shelf to the lowest part of your oven.

Combine the herb butter ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Reserve half of the herb butter in the refrigerator for later.

Line a large roasting pan with foil or parchment paper. Arrange the 4 halves of garlic cut-side down on the bottom of the pan with 4 sprigs each of thyme and rosemary, half of the olive oil, and 1 slice of lemon.

Thoroughly pat turkey dry with paper towels. Stuff with the remaining garlic halves, lemon slice, a squeeze of lemon from remaining slice, herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Melt the butter and rub all over the turkey, including under the skin. Season generously all over with salt and pepper. Place turkey on top of the garlic and herbs in the pan BREAST-SIDE DOWN. Drizzle with the remaining oil.

Roast uncovered for 30 minutes for a small turkey under 13 pounds, or 45 minutes for a larger turkey over 14 pounds.

Turn turkey over (breast-side up) with a pair of tongs, a clean tea towel, or oven mitts (heat-proof gloves) and baste with pan juices. Spread half of the reserved herb butter over the top of your turkey with a spoon or brush (be careful, the turkey will be hot and the butter will melt nicely over the skin). Pour any remaining juices over your turkey.

Reduce heat to 325°F (for standard ovens) or 300°F (convection). Roast, uncovered, for an hour.

Slather turkey generously with remaining butter and roast for 30 minutes. Baste again, then continue roasting for a further 30 minutes or so, depending on the size of your bird. *Tent loosely with foil if starting to brown too fast.* (For an extra large turkey, you may need an additional half hour to an hour.)

For extra crispy skin, broil (or grill) in the last 5 to 10 minutes, keeping your eye on it so it doesn't burn, until the skin is crispy and golden browned all over. Tent turkey with foil and allow it to rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving and serving.

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