THANKSGIVING TURKEY with HERB BUTTER and GIBLET GRAVY

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THANKSGIVING TURKEY with HERB BUTTER and GIBLET GRAVY (And Bonus: GF Cornbread Dressing)

           “It’s important to use fresh, not dried herbs in the herb butter. Feel free to add French tarragon, oregano, basil, or parsley, but keep the 3 main ones in the mix. You can leave this step out all together and simply season the turkey with salt and pepper. The cooking times specified in this recipe are for an unstuffed turkey that has been trussed. A stuffed turkey takes a little longer. An untrussed turkey cooks more quickly than a trussed turkey, but not by much.”~ Bobbi


*** Moderate

$$$ Moderate to $$$ Expensive, depending on the turkey (conventional vs. organic)

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes Cook Time: 2-1/2 hours or more cooking time, depending on size  Passive Time: 1 hour + 20 minutes to rest

Tools: small bowl, knife and cutting board, baking sheet, roasting pan

 

Herb butter:

1 (4-ounce) stick or 1/2 cup salted butter

fresh rosemary, thyme and sage (to yield 1 tablespoon each, chopped, and a few more sprigs)

 

Turkey:

12-16 lb. turkey, thawed (antibiotic and hormone free, free range, or organic)

1/2 to 1 tablespoon high heat cooking oil

salt and pepper

1 small onion (optional)

1 lemon (optional)

 

For herb butter: (You can make the herb butter ahead of time, then soften on the counter while your turkey is also on the counter.)

1. Soften butter by leaving out at room temperature 30-60 minutes, or in a microwave for 5-10 seconds.

2. Chop herbs. Mix butter and herbs in a small bowl.


For turkey:

1. Be sure to thaw the turkey ahead of time if frozen! This can be done 1-2 days before. We thaw it partially in the refrigerator and partially on the counter (don’t leave it out so long that it is no longer cold to touch). It can take up to 3 days to thaw exclusively in the refrigerator.

2. About one hour before cooking, set the thawed turkey on the counter to get rid of the chill. Remove package of giblets that is usually inside the turkey cavity. Store these in the refrigerator until ready to make giblet gravy. Place turkey on a baking sheet lined with foil or in a roasting pan. (A disposal aluminum pan is fine if you don’t own one.)

3. Loosen the skin of the turkey, starting at the neck, by running a finger under the skin. Work as far down the breast as possible, without tearing the skin. Go to the cavity end of the turkey and loosen skin from that side. Now get about a tablespoon of the butter at a time and push under the skin with your fingers; cover the breast meat and into the area where the legs join the body.

4. Place any leftover herbs sprigs into the cavity. If desired, cut the peeled onion and lemon into quarters and stuff into the cavity as well.

5. Truss the turkey legs, if desired. To truss: cut a 16-inch piece of cooking twine. Wrap it around the tail and tie. Cross the drumsticks and bring one end up and around where the legs cross. Then bring other end up and around the opposite side and direction. Bring both ends to top side and tie in a knot. Bend the wings backward and tuck the tips under the back.

6. Brush oil over the turkey then sprinkle salt and pepper generously over it. 

7. Remove all racks in the oven except one. Place it in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat oven to 450°F. Continue to leave turkey on counter while you wait for the oven to heat. Time things so the turkey is out of the refrigerator for about 30-60 minutes.

8. When hot, place turkey in the oven and cook on high heat for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn heat down to 350°F, baste, and set timer for 2 more hours for a 12-pound turkey. Add about 10-15 minutes for each additional pound, so a 14-pound turkey would cook for up to 2-1/2 hours, a 16-pound turkey for 3 hours, etc. Baste the turkey every 30-45 minutes. Remember, this timing is for a turkey that is NOT stuffed. Cook the dressing separately.

9. When the turkey has about 30 minutes left to cook, use a meat thermometer if you have one (we highly recommend) and stick it in the thickest part of the thigh, making sure it’s not touching a bone. The turkey is done when the internal temperature is about 165°F.  Chef’s Tip: If you don’t have a meat thermometer, or if it seems inaccurate, cut a slit in the thickest part of the thigh when you think the turkey is done. The juices that run out should be clear with no tinge of pink.

10. Remove the turkey from the oven when done and let rest about 20 minutes before cutting to give it time to reabsorb the juices.

 

GIBLET GRAVY

           “My mom makes the best gravy! It’s simple, light and tasty. Cook the hard-boiled egg ahead of time, according to our section, ‘How to Boil the Perfect Egg.’” ~ Bobbi


*** Easy!

$$$ Inexpensive!

Prep Time: 30-40 minutes start to finish

Tools:  small (1-quart) saucepan, knife and cutting board

 

Turkey giblets

3 cups chicken broth

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 hard-boiled egg

1/4 cup half and half

 

1. BoilRemove giblets from the pouch and add to a small saucepan with the broth. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low or low and simmer until tender, about 20-30 minutes. Remove giblets with a slotted spoon and chop the parts you want to use. (Some parts, like the heart, are tough, so we feed those to the dog.)

2. Take out about 1/4 cup of the warm liquid. Add flour, salt and pepper and make thin paste. Slowly pour flour paste into warm liquid, stirring constantly with whisk or fork. Cook over medium-low heat until thickened, stirring frequently (about 5-10 minutes).

3. Turn to low. Finely chop the egg. Stir in half and half, then add chopped giblets and egg. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.


BONUS: 


Nana's Gluten-Free, Slow-Cooker Cornbread Stuffing

(can use regular cornbread and stuffing mix too)


*** Moderate

$$$ Moderate  

Prep Time: 30 minutes (not including the time to bake the cornbread ahead of time  Passive Time: overnight  Cook Time: 4-6 hours in slow-cooker or about 1 hour in oven

Tools: pan for cornbread (optional), measuring cups and spoons, medium and large bowl, knife and cutting board, large (10 to 12-inch skillet), 


Cornbread: (or buy prepared cornbread)

1 package of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix

 

1. Bake the cornbread mix according to directions on package and use the remainder for other things, like Papaw's favorite: cornbread and milk! Loosely cover and store for a day, so it dries out a bit. You can also make this up to several weeks in advance and freeze, thawing the day before. Crumble up the amount needed.

 

Dry ingredients:

4-1/2 to 6 cups GF cornbread crumbs (see above)

1 (16-ounce) package Rudi’s Gluten Free Herb Stuffing Mix

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

1-2 tablespoons poultry seasoning (or use sage and thyme)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

 

Wet ingredients:

1 medium onion

1 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup butter

1 cup chopped pecans

4 large eggs

2 cups milk or half and half (can use non-dairy milk if desired)

6-8 cups broth (your choice-chicken or vegetable)

 

For dry ingredients: 

1. Stir together the cornbread crumbs, stuffing mix, herbs and seasonings in a large bowl. Chef’s Tip: You can do this the day before and store in a sealed container.


For wet ingredients:

2. Chop the onion and celery. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and celery and cook for 3 minutes. Chop pecans and add to onion mixture. Cook and stir another 2 minutes. Add to cornbread mixture.

3. Mix eggs and milk together with a whisk or fork in a medium bowl and add to cornbread mixture.

4. Stir in broth until desired consistency — should be very moist. 

5. Pour mixture into lightly greased 5-1/2 to 6 quart (large) slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until cooked through and set.

 

Chef’s Tip: This recipe fills up the large slow cooker, so adjust accordingly if you plan to use a smaller one. However, it doesn’t expand in size as it cooks, so don’t worry about that. Fill to within 1 inches of top. 


VARIATION: 

Pour into a large baking dish and cook in the oven at 350°F until set, about 1 hour. (But the beauty of doing it in a slow cooker is having the oven free and keeping the stuffing warm until ready to serve.)

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™