Roast Turkey Recipe
Simple fare for feeding large or small groups... and it's not difficult!
This roast turkey recipe will guide you through the relatively simple task of preparing a sumptuous roast so you can be the hero of the meal!
Turkey has been a tradition for many families as the meal of choice for celebrations such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some people also cook a turkey at Easter. We like it anytime we have a crowd to feed.
And why not? Turkey is packed with nutrients your body needs. According to one of our favorite nutrition information sources and cookbooks, The World's Healthiest Foods, Essential Guide for the Healthiest Way of Eating, turkey is a very good source of protein, the trace mineral selenium, vitamin B3 (niacin), and vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), among others. Much of the information on this page is from this book and their accompanying website.
If at all possible we highly recommend you purchase an organic, grass fed, free range turkey (see my blog about knowing who grows your food). Organically grown turkeys have not been fed growth hormones or antibiotics.
Note that cooking times are estimates: ovens vary, so your best bet is to use a meat thermometer to judge when the meat is cooked. But a rough guide is to allow 15 minutes per pound for an unstuffed bird and 20 minutes a pound for a stuffed bird at 350°F.
½ cup wild rice
1 cup long grain brown rice
1 med onion, chopped
3/4 cup diced celery, about ¼ inch pieces
2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
1 med green apple, diced about ¼ inch pieces
4 med cloves garlic, minced
½ cup chopped walnuts
6 dried apricots, coarsely chopped
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbls chopped fresh sage
3 Tbls chopped fresh thyme
½ Tbls fennel seeds
½ cup + 1 Tbls chicken broth
salt and black pepper to taste
Note: We are working on an alternative low carb stuffing. However, we feel that from time to time, providing you can tolerate an occasional higher carb meal, this is a special treat that generally only happens a few times each year!
- Bring 3½ cups of lightly salted water to a boil. While water is coming to a boil rinse the wild rice under running water in a strainer. When water is boiling add both wild and brown rice, cover, turn heat to low and cook for about 45 minutes, until tender. Do not overcook. You will most likely have excess water when rice is cooked properly. Put cooked rice in a strainer and drain out excess water. Set aside in a large enough bowl to mix everything together.
- Heat 1 TBS chicken broth in a large stainless steel skillet. Healthy Saute onion in broth over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and celery and continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes.
- Mix all the stuffing ingredients together in bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Always stuff the turkey just before roasting - never ahead of time to avoid harmful bacteria. Have the stuffing hot and pack it loosely in the body cavity.
Cooking the Turkey
- Rinse turkey well inside and out. Pat dry. (If you had to buy a frozen turkey, make sure it is completely thawed.)
- Preheat your oven to 400°F and put the oven rack on the bottom shelf. Stuff the turkey loosely with dressing while it is still hot right before roasting.
- Cut about 48 inches of heavy kitchen twine. Truss the turkey by first binding the legs together with the center of the length of twine. Run the twine along the sides of the turkey toward the neck tightly holding the wings to its sides with the twine. Cross the twine around the neck end of the bird and back to the legs. Loop around legs and tie a knot. Rub the turkey with a little salt and pepper.
- Place turkey breast side down on a flat or V shaped rack in roasting pan. Make sure you use a rack inside the roasting pan. Otherwise the skin may stick to the pan and tear. Add a cup of chicken broth to the bottom of the pan. Roast breast side down basting about every 30 minutes with the pan juices for about 2½ hours for a 12-15 lb turkey.
- Bring turkey to the top of the stove, turn it to its back and remove the trussing twine. This will now allow the inside of the legs to brown along with the rest of the turkey. Baste again, and return to the oven. But first, check the breast for doneness by inserting an instant reading thermometer at the thickest part of the breast toward the neck. This will give you an idea how much longer the turkey will need to cook. It should read about 125° at this point. When the thermometer reads between 165° and 170° in the thickest part of the thigh the turkey is perfectly done. Check the stuffing by inserting the thermometer into the center of the cavity. The stuffing should read 165° to be done. If it has not reached this temperature, you will have to remove it from the turkey and finish cooking it in a baking pan on its own. It's important the stuffing reaches this temperature to be safe to eat. Check the thighs for doneness. Remove your turkey to a platter, but don't carve it for at least 20 minutes.
Gravy6 cups chicken broth
2 large carrots chopped in large pieces
2 medium onions cut into large pieces
2 celery sticks cut into large pieces
neck, wing tips and giblets from turkey
1/3 cup flour mixed with water
1 Tbls chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tbls chopped fresh thyme
salt and black pepper
*optional ¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms
- Simmer all the ingredients except oat flour, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper for about 1 hour on medium heat.
- Strain and discard solids. Heat ¼ cup broth in a stainless steel skillet. Whisk in flour a little at a time to incorporate. Using a wire whisk, add the rest of the broth a little at a time on low heat. Keep whisking to avoid lumps until all the liquid is incorporated.
- Add rosemary and cook for another 20 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally. Season with chopped thyme, salt and pepper.
That's all there is to it! Enjoy!
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