Are you nervous about cooking a whole turkey? It’s OK, I was too, but I’ll let you in on a little secret, it’s really very easy! Honestly, I don’t know what all the fuss is about cooking turkey for Thanksgiving. If you want an easy and quick way to cook a medium-sized turkey, this is a great method:
1 whole turkey, defrosted (13-15 pounds)
2 cups of chicken broth or 2 cups water plus 2 tsp Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
1 lemon, cut in half
1 head of garlic, top cut off to expose all the cloves
3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
salt & pepper
- Heat oven to 400°F
- Remove the turkey from the package. Remove bag containing neck and organ meats. If making gravy, place them in a small pot and cover with water, set to a low simmer. Directions for gravy at the end of this post.
- Rinse turkey and allow to drain a few minutes. Place turkey breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan with rack.
- Place cut lemon, garlic and rosemary inside the cavity of the turkey.
- Drizzle turkey with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. It is not necessary to truss (tie up) the legs.
- Add chicken broth or water to the bottom of the roasting pan.
- Place turkey in the oven on a rack that allows equal space above and below the bird.
- Cook for 2-2½ hours. After 1 hour pour some of the liquid from the pan over the breast and legs with a baster or a ladle. Check turkey at two hours, if the skin is brown enough but the meat is not up to temperature, cover the turkey with foil to prevent the skin from burning.
- Use a meat thermometer to check for proper temperature of 180° in the thickest part of the thigh meat and at least 165° in the thickest part of the breast – be sure you are not touching the bone at either point or you may get a false reading.
- Remove turkey from roasting pan and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving. Reserve liquid from roasting pan for gravy if desired, see below.
Directions for Homemade Gravy
- Simmer the neck and organ meats in a small pot with water and 1 tsp of chicken bullion paste or one cube of bouillon while the turkey roasts in the oven.
- While turkey is resting, place roasting pan drippings into a gravy separator, or a tall narrow vessel (measuring cup or pint drinking glass) and skim off as much of the excess fat as possible. Some will be olive oil from rubbing the turkey, so don’t worry too much!
- After excess fat has been removed, pour pan drippings into a medium skillet over medium heat.
- Remove turkey neck that has been simmering and shred the meat, add to skillet. Discard organ meats.
- Mix 2 TBSP of cornstarch in 1/4 cup of water until well blended, add half to the drippings to start with and allow to simmer until it begins to thicken. Add additional cornstarch mix to thicken further if desired.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. I used about 1/2 tsp each.