Monday, December 16, 2013

Delicious No Baste Turkey

This year, we found ourselves at home for the first time ever on Thanksgiving! As the years pass, it has become more and more difficult to coordinate schedules with parents and siblings.  Daniel has 2 brothers, each married and each have 1 child.  I have 3 siblings, 2 married and both have at least 1 kid, and though my brother isn't married and has no children, he works for Nascar and traveling makes his schedule a little chaotic.  So when we were 1st married, our thanksgivings consisted of eating two huge meals-- one with my family and one with Daniel's family, and now it just doesn't work as well as it used to.  Everyone has other family to see and kids have schedules of their own, so it just happened to fall this year that my family got together the weekend before and Daniel's the weekend after.  I anticipated us having at least one place to attend on thanksgiving, but that's not how it panned out.... Which in all honesty I'm ok with.  Because as much as I love family and spending quality time together, as the schedules veer away from the actual holiday just a tad, it opens the doors for us to celebrate as a family and create some new traditions. 

So we made our very 1st turkey this year, and I know what you're thinking-- "Your 1st turkey and you're sharing the recipe like you're an expert?!"  So, no, I'm not an expert! No where near close, BUT I have eaten a lot of turkey's over the years, and I have eaten some good and some dry not so good.  In fact, I never really liked turkey that much because it's always so dry.  So when this turkey turned out so well, I was quite shocked, and thought I'd share how I did it.  

To say I was nervous about making the turkey is quite the understatement.  I've never done it before and not only did I not want to ruin our first thanksgiving together, but I'm also incredibly cheap and would've been beyond frustrated if I spent $15 on a turkey and it not be edible.  Weeks out away from thanksgiving I was busy preparing, buying ingredients, making to-do lists and researching recipes.  And my, oh my!  Don't get me started on turkey recipes.  Google was beyond overhwhelmimg.  I read nearly every recipe I found and it just made me more anxious--- all the recipes are SO different!  People are very opinionated about brining, not brining, foil, roaster bags or nothing, an array of seasonings, cooking times ranged from 2 hours to 12 hours, oven temps ranged by the 100's.  It was all quite obnoxious.  

I wanted desperately to make the turkey "right," but with such a variation in recipes, how was I to know what was right? So, I took a little of this and a little of that from SEVERAL recipes and made it my own way, and it turned out lovely! 

And since it turned out so well, I couldn't resist picking up another turkey a couple days after thanksgiving on clearance.  Cooking it up today so we can eat on it this week as we lead into Christmas and the chaos of hopping from gathering to gathering.  

-Apples (I used gala)
-Baby carrots
-An onion 
-Olive Oil

So start out with your turkey in your roasting pan, and roughly chop onion, carrots, and apples.  If it gives you an idea, we had a 13 pound turkey and I used 2 apples, a few handfuls of carrots and about half the onion. 

Arrange them around the turkey in your roasting pan and stuff several inside.  

Then coat your turkey generously with olive oil and throw on some fresh pepper, sea salt, dried rosemary and ground thyme.  (Season to your liking.)
Cover/tent with aluminum foil and place in the oven at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, reduce the temp to 325 and cook for 15 minutes per pound.  The last 30 minutes of that time however, you will remove the foil so that it can brown up a bit. 
Once the browning time is over, check the temperature of your turkey to see if it is done.  If so, remove from the oven and place the foil back on.  It's very important to let the turkey rest, if you cut it right away, the moisture will escape.  Plus this gives you some time to bake off your stuffing. 

After it's rested, carve away and enjoy! Easy peasy, no basting, no in and out of the oven, no obnoxious timers, no special seasonings or bags, no brining and super delicious and moist! 

This is the point where I intended to have a photo of my full plate of delicious food including stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, and green beans.... However, I ate it.  I devoured all of it, so you'll have to take my word for it. :)

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