Thursday, November 12, 2015

Homestyle Thanksgiving Turkey: Gobble Gobble

Thanksgiving is approaching, and rather quickly!
You know what that means? Turkey Time! 'Tis the Season.

Thanksgiving is one of my all time favorite holidays and that's mainly because of all the delicious food that fills the table on Thanksgiving. It tends be the only holiday with minimal distractions, no gifts to unwrap, no eggs to find, no resolutions to write. Just you, the ones you love and an insane amount of food to consume. I love sitting around the table telling stories, catching up and of course - eating. The Thanksgiving turkey recipe I use is a combination of observing my Grandparents cook as well as my Dad. The people below have a lot to do with my love for Thanksgiving and the love I have for family gatherings in general. #famlove
(see full recipe and ingredients list below)

Thanksgiving brings out my need to cook and create. I have made a turkey for Thanksgiving consistently for the last 4 years, so I feel pretty comfortable around a turkey. Not claiming "expert status" here, but I haven't experienced any fails---yet. Making a turkey is rather intimidating, you have to be willing to get a little up close and personal with "her." I tend to talk to my turkey like a person, show her the love before your hands are literally all over her---which may or may not increase the flavor, but I'd like to think it does.

Okay, let's get her going...

Remember to give yourself time to THAW your turkey! Also, please note: wash your hands, and wash them often.

I picked my turkey up from our local King Soopers, $0.69 a lb! When you unwrap your turkey, she's going to look like this (below). This turkey came with an optional gravy for use, so make sure you remove this from your turkey.

Step One || Turkey Prep

Here is where you are going to want to fire up your oven. Preheat to 350 degrees F. Next, wash the turkey and remove the neck and giblets. Some people like these pieces, I am not one of those people so I quickly get rid of them. The neck is usually inside the belly of the turkey with the giblets inside the neck opening. This particular brand had the giblets bagged, which is nice because I'd rather not see them. Ew.

Remember when I mentioned, you will be up close and personally with your turkey, if you are first timer this is probably where you are starting to get what I meant by this.

Step Two || Veggie Prep

Wash all your veggies and then proceed to cutting. For your celery and carrots simply cut the ends, you will want to keep them long as this helps when you are "beautifying" the turkey later. This doesn't matter to a lot of people, I am not one of those people--haha. Presentation is everything! The onions can be cut and sliced. For the garlic you will need one whole bulb, roughly 16 cloves.

Next, you will need to peel your garlic. Pro Tip: Press firmly on garlic cloves until you hear a cracking noise. This allows for easy peeling! There are also tons of kitchen gadgets that do this! Two of the cloves you will need to dice for your butter mixture.

Okay, back to our pretty bird:

Step 3 || Butter Your Bird

Place your turkey in a roasting pan -- (I did not do this and used my cutting board. It's easier just to put her in the pan now), next separate the skin over the breast, it can be difficult to start this, if you need to use a small pairing knife to separate the skin you may do so, your hands should be able to move between the skin thereafter. Put about 2 tablespoons of butter on either side of the bird, this helps to keep the turkey moist and juicy! I also trimmed some of the neck skin off because it was so long, this is not necessary.

Step 4 || Magic Mixture

Grab a medium to small size bowl. Combine 1 cup chicken broth, 1 stick melted butter and 2 diced garlic cloves. Sprinkle in Italian blend seasoning, thyme, salt and pepper and mix together. I made my own Italian blend with a mixture of herbs I had in the cabinet but any Italian blend will do.

Now it's time for the fun part! Time to inject your beautiful bird to help increase that ohhh so yummy, juicy flavor. You can pick up an injector almost anywhere, I picked mine up from King Soopers a few years ago. Fill your injector with your mixture and inject into various areas. I typically do 3-4 in the breast area and 2 additional on the backside or in her legs. The remainder of your sauce just pour over the top of her.

Step 5 || Stuffin' The Bird

Place your peeled yellow onion inside the belly of the turkey first. You will be able to decide at this point if you need to cut the onion in half to make it fit otherwise you can slide it right in. Next, add 6 or 7 garlic cloves to the belly of your bird. You can now finish off with your carrots and celery. Here is where you can add the "pretty" to your turkey. I like to leave the stems extending, you can also tie your turkey's legs shut depending on how you are looking to present the turkey.

Step 6 || Make Her Pretty

Here is where you can add the remaining pieces of veggies and your sliced onion to your roasting pan. I pour roughly about 2-4 cups of chicken broth in the bottom of the pan--about halfway up the pan. I realized when working on this recipe that I typically do not measure anything, so I really had to work hard on writing down each step! I think it's a Midwest thing to cook to taste -- and I ain't mad about it. Now top the turkey with your dry herbs; thyme, rosemary, sage. Gosh, she's pretty!

Step 7 || Let Her Bake

It's officially time to let her bake! Cover your turkey with foil and bake in your preheated oven for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until the internal temperature of your turkey is 180 degrees F. For the last 45 minutes or so, remove the foil so the turkey will brown nicely.

Pro Tip: I add an additional 2 TBSP of butter to the top of the turkey to allow for a beautiful golden brown for the last 45 minutes of cooking.

Gobble Gobble,

Homestyle Thanksgiving Turkey

12.5 Lb Turkey
7-10 Carrots
One Whole Celery Bunch
2 Sticks Butter
32 Oz Swanson Chicken Broth
1 Yellow Onion
 1 White Onion
1 Garlic Bulb (Roughly 16 cloves)
Salt & Pepper

Prep: 30 Minutes ||  Cook Time: 5 Hours

1. Preheat oven 350 degrees F. Rinse and wash turkey. Discard the giblets/neck.

2. Prep Veggies. Clean and Wash all Veggies. Cut Celery ends, leave stocks long for beautifying purposes. If necessary cut the ends off your carrot sticks. Slice your white onion. Proceed to peeling, dicing two garlic cloves. Leave the rest of your cloves for the turkey roasting pan.

3. Place turkey in roasting pan. Separate the skin over the breast. Put 2 tablespoons of butter on both sides between the skin and breast meat.

4. In a medium bowl, combine 1 Cup Chicken Broth, 1 Stick Butter and 2 Diced Garlic Cloves. Sprinkle in Italian Blend, Thyme, Salt and Pepper. Use your turkey injector to inject turkey with blend, this helps with making that ohh soo yum juicy turkey.  Use left over mixture and pour over the top of the turkey.

5.  Place your peeled yellow inside the belly of the turkey first, next add 6 or 7 garlic cloves and then proceed to slide inside your carrots, and celery.

6. Add you white onion pieces and garlic cloves to the base of your roasting pan and any left over celery and carrot sticks.Then top with your herbs: thyme, rosemary and sage.

7. Cover with foil and bake in your preheated oven for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until the internal temperature of your turkey is 180 degrees F. For the last 45 minutes or so remove the foil so the turkey will brown nicely.

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