Finally, I conquered one of my “what-if-this-fails-horribly” fears and roasted my own turkey.
I had a plan. Defrost, brine, cook. Which all went…somewhat…swimmingly.
You see I defrosted it on Saturday. Set in the brine Sunday morning. And left it there…for a day and a half. Whew. (Turning it every so often to get all the tasty parts even distribution).
And then finally, on “cook the turkey” day, I felt like I had been run over by a bus. Cold, flu, who knows? But I could barely move around and I kept falling asleep where ever I happened to lay my head.
But, the nice thing about roasting a turkey, is it just sits there and roasts.
Since this was my first time, I was pretty terrified it would be undercooked. I don’t have a meat thermometer, so I was relying on the good ol’ “wait until the juices run clear” philosophy.
I basted it in the last hour. And waited…and waited…and waited. I left it in an extra hour just to be sure. But, thankfully it came out nice and juicy as ever! (Perhaps letting it sit in my brine so long paid off).
I left the seasoning a little lighter on this turkey so that we could use it in other dishes if we want to, but it came out pretty flavorful anyways. The brine gave a lot of flavor and then I topped it off with a light olive oil and herb seasoning.
I am going to try again with some fresh herbs and some stuffing, but this was a good start to get the feel for roasting a turkey…and very yummy for sandwiches.
So, today I am soooo relieved. Turkey is done and we have leftovers for the week AND I feel like I can walk again, woohoo!!
For the brine:
- 1 cup lemon juice (we used freshly squeezed lemons)
- 1 cup orange juice
- 3/4 cup salt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 1/2 cup peppercorns
- water (amount varies to turkey size)
For the seasoning:
- 1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons dried italian seasoning
- salt to taste
- 1/2 white onion chopped
- 4-5 bay leafs
- Make sure your turkey is thawed. Create brine by mixing 1 cup lemon juice, 1 cup orange juice, water (for every gallon used to cover turkey add 3/4 cup salt & 3/4 cup brown sugar). Add in basil and peppercorns. Place turkey in brine, fully covered (or turn every few hours if not fully covered). Let sit overnight or up to 2 days while refrigerated.
- Remove turkey from brine and pat dry. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix olive oil and seasoning (and salt, if desired). Carefully get under the turkey skin and rub seasoning underneath. Take care to not break the skin. Then using a brush, generously apply the rest of the seasoning over the rest of the turkey. Stuff turkey as desired. (We used a chopped onion.)
- Place turkey on rack in a roasting pan. Add water to pan (about 1/4 inch deep) and place bay leafs in water.
- Roast in the preheated oven for 3 to 4 hours (check specific guidelines for time per size of turkey). During the last hour, baste the turkey with juices in pan. (I had to fill the pan with water again about halfway through).
- Remove from oven when internal temperature reaches 180 degrees (or juices run clear).
Source: modified from Allrecipes.com