It’s finally here. The day foodies have been training for all year long. Put on your stretchy pants, tuck your napkin into your shirt and wear them with pride.
Preparing Thanksgiving dinner can be overwhelming to say the least. I’ll never forget the morning of my very first Friendsgiving. I woke up feeling spunky and confident in my cooking abilities. I poured my cup of coffee, opened the blinds, and became excited. I went to the fridge, pulled out my fifteen pound turkey and dropped it on the counter. I just sort of looked at it. Shit. I literally had no f*cking idea what I was doing. I am literally nervous typing this because that’s how panicked I was. Queue the phone call to mom. I like to think that everyone has this moment and if they say they have not, they are lying. To spare you the fine details, everything turned out “alright” for a first timer and I’m pretty sure I only set off the smoke alarms once. Okay, fine. Twice.
Let’s get started.
To brine, or not to brine? Everybody has their own way of prepping the bird before the big day. I’ve brined and I have not brined and I honestly think you will be quite alright if you skip this step. A well seasoned compound butter and some veggies stuffed inside will deliver an abundance of flavor.
Three things I would highly recommend:
- Sliding butter on the breasts beneath the skin of the turkey. I didn’t take pictures of me doing this because my husband wasn’t home and I don’t have a third hand growing out of my ass. Google it 🙂
- Before putting the turkey in the oven, get a large piece of foil and fold it in half so it’s thicker. Place it over the entire breast of the turkey. This will ensure both even cooking and keeping those breasts nice n’ juicy.
- Place your turkey in a roasted pan that has a rack. Keeping your turkey elevated will prevent a soggy tush.
This recipe is based upon a 16 pound turkey. You want to cook your turkey roughly 15 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature (of the breast) reads 165°F.
I’m also just going to go ahead and put this out there. Your turkey needs to be thawed and because it’s huge, this can take a few days. I would put it in the Fridge on Monday.
What You’ll Need:
- 16 pound turkey, thawed
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 lemon
- Bay Leaves
- Fresh Garlic
- 4 cups Chicken Stock
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 1/2 tablespoon parsley, chopped finely
- 1/2 tablespoon thyme
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup butter, divided into 8 slabs
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- Total of 4 cups chicken stock or pan drippings
- I usually end up with about 2-3 cups drippings and will add chicken stock to reach the total of 4 cups.
- Remove your turkey from the fridge about an hour before roasting so that it reaches room temperature. Preheat your oven to 450°.
- Chop your carrot, celery, onion, and garlic. Set aside along with the lemon, sage, thyme, and bay leaves.
- Put together your compound butter by adding all ingredients into a separate bowl and mixing together. Set aside.
- In my opinion, this is the easiest way to prep your turkey: Place the turkey in a clean kitchen sink and cut the packaging off of it. From the birds cavity, remove the bag of gizzards and neck. Rinse out the cavity and and then pat dry the skin with paper towels. Transfer the bird to a rack, inside the roasting pan.
- Coat the inside of the turkey cavity with some of the compound butter. Stuff the bird with the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, lemon, thyme, sage, and 2 bay leaves.
- Carefully slide your hand between the breast meat and skin creating a pocket. Place some of the compound butter underneath the skin.
- Spread the remaining compound butter across the entire skin of the turkey. Pour 4 cups of chicken stock into the bottom of the pan. Cover turkey breasts with foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes at 450°. After 45 minutes, reduce your temperature to 350° for 2 hours. After 2 hours remove the piece of foil from the breasts. Continue cooking for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the breasts reads 165°.
- Remove the turkey from the oven and carefully transfer to another dish (something with sides as the turkey will release juices) and tent with a large piece of foil. Let rest for 20 minutes before slicing.
While your turkey is resting, prepare your gravy.
- Immediately (and carefully) pour your drippings into a gravy separator and place in the refrigerator until the fat starts rise to the top and solidify (about 15 minutes.)
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and add fresh ground pepper.
- Slowly add in the flour while constantly whisking until the flour is well incorporated into the butter (a few minutes.)
- Slowly pour in the turkey drippings and/or chicken stock, constantly whisking.
- Cook the gravy for 7-10 minutes allowing it to thicken. Transfer to gravy boat and serve immediately.
I hope you all have a magical Thanksgiving; Full of love, laughter, and graciousness. I am endlessly thankful for my family and friends, our health, and the food I am able to provide on our table. I am both grateful and blessed to this year, have our daughter join us around our table. I am humbled by the outpour of love and support I have received on this new journey and I thank each of you from the bottom of my heart. My wish for you this Thanksgiving is to be grateful for all that you have and to give to those who need it most. To count your blessings and to hold your family tight. To let go of the things that divide us and to come together based upon the things that make each of us so wonderful. To love abundantly without any boundaries.