Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sage Roasted Turkey

Here is my final Thanksgiving Day Feast recipe. I apologize in advance for no photo but I made this meal for a group of hungry people who had just spent a November day in and out of a cold lake in Central Ontario bringing the dock in for the winter. Needless to say when this meal was done not one person had the patience to wait to be served a hot meal and after all the work they did I didn't think they should. As you read the recipe you'll see why it was hard to even snap a quick pic of the bird or shall I say a pretty quick pic of the bird. Even though there isn't photographic evidence of this deliciously tasty bird. I urge you to try it, whether it's with a turkey or a chicken. It's the only way to cook them as far as I am concerned.

Sage Roasted Turkey
serves 8 with leftovers

1 12 lb turkey
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 tsp sea salt
12 fresh sage leaves
1 lemon - washed and quartered
1 small onion quartered
6 or more fresh rosemary sprigs
6 or more fresh sage sprigs
1 head of garlic

1. Make sure your turkey is fully defrosted and at room temperature before roasting. Remove giblets and neck. Rinse and pat dry inner cavity and skin.
2. Preheat oven to 325F. Place butter, sage leaves and sea salt into a food processor and pulse until sage leaves are chopped and combined with butter. Set aside.
3. Sprinkle sea salt and fresh cracked pepper inside the turkey's cavity. Stuff the turkey with lemon quarters, onion quarters, whole head of garlic and sprigs of herbs.
4. Rub the sage butter all over the turkey's skin. Truss up the legs and wings. For instructions on how to truss a turkey click here.
5. Place the turkey, breast down in a roasting pan and place in the heated oven. Roast for 15-20 minutes per pound basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices. As the roasting time winds down, test the thigh with and instant read thermometer. It is ready when the temperature is 170F and the juices run clear.
6. When done remove roasting pan from the oven and remove the turkey to a carving board letting rest under a tent of foil, breast side down for 15 minutes before carving. Turn the turkey over to carve and enjoy with your favorite gravy or jus and sides.

Roasting the bird with the breast side down, allows all of the deliciously rich thigh juices to run into the breast keeping it moist and tender. Resting it breast side down just continues the process. While it doesn't make for the most photogenic bird, the flavor speaks for itself. As I have never carved a bird at the dinner table, and I doubt most people don't unless they live in some Norma Rockwell alternate universe, I'd say forgo the gorgeously browned breast for flavor and tenderness. Instead of a traditional gravy I made a jus with the pan drippings and some red wine.

I have one great leftover recipe that I'll post on Friday, so in between all the Black Friday craziness, if you are looking for something a bit different to do with your turkey leftovers check it out.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

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