thanksgiving turkey

Once again, we ordered a fresh Hutterite turkey from Real Deal Meats.  This time it was a 17-pounder (pretty big for the 7 people who would be at dinner, but lots for leftovers).  Here's how I roasted it:

First prepare the herb butter (check out the recipe at the bottom).  Rinse the turkey in cold water, then dry it off with paper towel.  Gently separate the breast skin and leg skin from the turkey then spread the butter underneath.  I find that it works best to put a large spoonful under the skin, then spread it out by pushing down from the top.  Next stuff the turkey with your favourite stuffing recipe.  I like to add dried cranberries and chopped apple in mine, oh, and I also use a stuffing bag because it makes it so much easier to get the stuffing out agian.  Tie up the legs.  Pour a drizzle of olive oil over the turkey and spread it around with your hand.  Give the bird a generous sprinkle of fresh ground pepper and salt.

 I like to add about 3/4 of a bottle of beer to the bottom of the roasting pan.  It helps keep the turkey moist, and adds good flavour to the gravy.  My turkey was too big to use the lid to my roasting pan, so I covered it in foil.  Put the turkey in the oven at 325 F.  I try to baste the turkey about every 30 minutes, and I usually only keep it covered for 60-90 minutes.  My 17 lb. turkey took about 4 hours to cook (there are lots of great websites with cooking guidelines).  When you're happy with the colour of the turkey, cover it with foil to keep it from browning any more.  

Plan to have the turkey cooked at least 45 minutes before you plan on serving dinner, that way you can let it rest for 30 minutes (covered in foil to keep it warm).  While it's resting you can make your gravy and then when everything else is on the table you can carve the turkey.   

Herb Butter

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • zest from one lemon
  • 3 tbsp fresh tarragon
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 3 tbsp fresh italian parsley
  • fresh ground pepper

Add all the ingredients to the bowl of the food processor.  Pulse until well mixed.