Cooking a whole turkey for Thanksgiving can be intimidating or even overwhelming for some of us cooks. But when it comes down to doing it, my husband does it best. Nothing fancy to his method, just a simple and easy prep to clean and stuff the turkey and into the oven it goes. Slow roasting the turkey is super simple and super easy!
He makes the turkey the same way year after year, without any fancy seasonings and without the 'brine in bag' for days. He simply cleans it, then stuffs it (not with your traditional stuffing) but with some vegetables to help keep the turkey moist.
He believes that slow roasting it in the oven is the way to go and depending how many pounds the turkey is, always start in morning and it will be ready in the afternoon.
It turns out perfect, super moist and juicy every time! We prefer to make our traditional Italian stuffing which is made outside the turkey, for a healthier side.
Then there are certain things that we rather buy for the holiday rather than making it homemade, such as the turkey gravy, the cranberry sauce and the biscuits.
It's just easier.
First thing to do, if it's frozen, allow the frozen bird to sit inside your sink (while still in the package) to thaw over night. Do this on the eve of Thanksgiving. Or you can thaw in your refrigerator, allowing 24 hours for every four pounds, or 4 to 5 days for a 16 to 20-pound turkey.
While it's still sitting in the sink, remove the bird from its packaging, and remove the neck and bag from inside the turkey, the breast cavity (we discard these items, no need for them). Rinse turkey in the sink under cold running water for a few minutes, including rinsing the inside as well.
Place the cleaned turkey onto a platter or roasting pan. Stuff the turkey with one green pepper that has been cleaned, cord and sliced, along with 2 or 3 onions chopped into large chunks and 4 garlic cloves. Stuffing the turkey with chunks of green peppers, onions and garlic cloves will not only help keep the turkey moist, it will eliminate the "gamey" orders. My husband never-ever eats turkey, this is the one time each year he does.
I always set the table with plenty of napkins, fancy cloth for their laps, and paper for the "just-in-case" spills. Besides the food, we'll have plenty of water and wine on the table.
Next to the turkey, we love the sides the most! Our menu always consists of
French Green Beans, Stuffed Mushrooms, Sweet Baby Peas with Onions and our Italian sausage stuffing (which I haven't had a chance to post yet), just to name a few.
This holiday, we'd like to say cook as much or as little as you want. Cook the things you feel comfortable with and buy the rest! Don't feel you have to do it all just because you're hosting Thanksgiving.
Make this the best Thanksgiving ever... relax and enjoy!
Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey
- 1 - (12-14 pound) turkey (grain-fed turkey), rinsed, cleaned
- 2 or 3 large onions - peeled, chopped into large chunks
- 1 large green pepper - cord, chopped into large chunks
- 4 garlic cloves
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 to 2 cups of water or white wine
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove some of the racks to make room, and adjust a rack to the lowest position.
Stuff the inside of the bird with chunks of green peppers, onions and garlic.
Place the turkey on a roasting rack in a roasting pan; breast side up and drizzle generously with olive oil over the bird, and season with salt and pepper. Pour water or white wine into the pan under the turkey.
Cover with foil wrap and place into the oven. Follow the directions on the package for how many hours to cook the turkey, usually 20 minutes per pound. Or when the thermometer reaches the proper temperature, 165 -180 degrees F, depending on size.
UNCOVER the turkey for the last hour. This will give the turkey the chance to get its golden-brown color. Hold onto the foil wrap! You will need to "reuse" it again to cover the turkey once you remove it from the oven to keep it warm and while it sits before carving.
When the turkey is ready, remove it from oven. Set it aside and COVER with foil wrap. Allow it to rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. This will allow the bird to retain all its juices and not dry out. Use a large fork or spoon to remove the vegetables from inside the turkey and discard them.
Transfer turkey to a carving board, or serving platter. When carving the turkey, always go against the grain of the meat. Serve!
Serves 8 to 10