Through hundreds of cookbooks, thousands of recipes, and 28 years of Thanksgivings, I officially - and finally! - made my first whole turkey. I didn't actually make it for Thanksgiving, though, I made it at work, but it was still delicious as ever, and definitely deserves a spot on your holiday recipe lineup. Check out the best way to get crisp skin, juicy breasts, and one hell of a mix for a gravy. Enjoy!
What You'll Need:
- 1 1/2 cups carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 cups celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 3 rosemary sprigs
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cups water
- 2 lemons and 1 orange, sliced in rounds
- 1 whole turkey, 18-20 pounds
- 1 pound butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons each: salt, pepper, paprika, poultry seasoning
1. In a very large roasting pan, mix carrots, celery, onion, thyme, and rosemary with olive oil until coated. Pour white wine over top and cover with about 2 cups of water. Rest a baking rack on top of vegetables. On the rack, place slices of lemon and orange for the turkey to sit on.
2. Clean your turkey. Start by removing the wrap/zip-ties around the legs of the turkey so you can get into the cavity. Remove the bag of giblets, liver and the neck. You can save these if you want to put them in the gravy, but I don't. Trim any excess fat that's just hanging out, but leave that beautiful skin on there. Using your hands, separate the skin from the back of the turkey (yea, the back) - careful not to tear through it. Separate it as best you can all the way down to the legs, and all the way around towards the breasts.
3. Whip the butter and the honey together. Using your hands, stuff the butter under the skin, and spread it all around, making sure you get every nook and cranny. Whisk all spices together and season the bird all around both sides with all the spices. Really rub it in there, making sure the bird is nicely seasoned. Set on top the rack, breasts down, and cover with foil.
4. Put in a 375-degree oven and cook for 3.5 hours, basting around the back every now and then, but don't baste the skin too much. For the last half hour, cook uncovered to get that skin really crispy. Let rest for about 15-20 minutes before cutting into.
5. Optional gravy: Strain the drippings from the vegetables into a saucepan. Whisk in 4 tablespoons of butter, 2 cups of chicken broth, 1 cup white wine, a one bay leaf. Simmer until thickened. Enjoy!