Cooking a turkey really isn’t that difficult. There are things that can go wrong but if you keep it simple you’ll do just fine. It was one of the very few things I could cook that my husband liked. It was also the first meal that I cooked for my parents. (I was 30 by the time this happened) Yes, the is the same meal that had my brother calling from Japan to see if they were still alive after eating my cooking or if mom had taken over because I couldn’t be trusted in the kitchen. – Got to love little brothers.
Last year I spent Thanksgiving with my wonderful friend Tamara that lives in Napa. Neither of us have family locally and neither of us were traveling so we had a super low key, no stress Thanksgiving at her house.
Tamara did something that I hadn’t seen before and this year I gave it a try. She basted the turkey with a mixture of tawny port and butter. (I was going to love it immediately)
She did brine her turkey. I didn’t. I never have and didn’t choose this weekend to start. 🙂 I did “inject” seasoning into the bird. I usually do this. I buy a “Cajun Injector” and ta dah…. Juicy turkey.
This is all I needed:
3 Stalks Celery
Garlic & Butter Cajun Injector Seasoning
Salt & Pepper (or seasoning blend of choice)
1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Port
In addition to never using brine, I don’t even own a “roasting pan” or a “roasting pan rack”. – Strange but true.
To solve this problem, I chopped the onion, celery and carrots (in big chunks) and put them in the bottom of a grocery store disposable turkey pan.
Placed the turkey on top of them and that was good enough. 🙂
Next I used the cajun injector and seasoned the breast, legs, thighs and wings. Pour the seasoning in a glass or bowl. You don’t want to put the needle back in the original container if you plan to keep any that is leftover for something else.- It will be contaminated and have to be thrown out.
Then Season the bird well.
Stuff it if planning to do so. (this stuffing recipe is also from my friend Tamara and will be posted soon)
Place in a 350 degree oven.
Now, put the butter and port in a pan and heat over medium low until the butter has melted. I did simmer it for just a couple minutes.
Reduce to low to keep it a little warm.
Now would be a good time to pour yourself a little glass and go sit by the fire for a few minutes. I did.
30 to 45 minutes in, start the basting. I used a brush to baste. I have found that it works better for me.
My turkey is pretty small (about 9 pounds) so it wasn’t going to take long. Follow the standard cooking time guides you can find all over the place (and probably even on the birds packaging) for the size you have.
I basted every 30 minutes for the first 2 hours and then every 15 for the last hour. For a larger bird, it was recommended by Tamara to baste once an hour and then every 15 minutes for the last hour.
This is about half way….
I did not cover the turkey. I did cover the tips of the wings and “tent” it with foil for the last hour. It was getting dark quickly and I didn’t want it TOO dark.
Remove the turkey from the oven and let it “rest” for about 15 minute and then move it to whatever serving or carving piece you’ll be using.
Discard the vegetables that are in the bottom of the pan.
You should have plenty of juices in the pan to make some amazing gravy – Do don’t throw it out!
The port and butter give the turkey such a rich, pretty color. I will be keeping this recipe in my little box of tricks. I’m going to give it a try on cornish hens or maybe even a chicken.
You may notice that my turkey is in a bowl. I haven’t cooked a holiday meal in several years and forgot that I don’t even have a turkey platter. I had one but it broke in a move several years ago. 😦
Stay tuned for more holiday recipes over the next couple days.