Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Upside-Down Roasted Turkey

Turkey is NOT just for Thanksgiving. We stocked up over the holidays and have a few Turkey's in the freezer (and we paid only $7 bucks for them). I just LOVE making them fresh for us to enjoy a great meal on a Sunday afternoon and lots of scrumptious fresh Turkey sandwiches all week long. Plus we enjoy  many other Turkey left-overs like Cranberry-Turkey Quesadillas, Turkey, Cranberry and Brie Pizza and a few new ones I will be sharing with you this week (watch tomorrow for a very different kind of Enchilada). Yah, I know it's June, but Turkey is in the house! YUMMY!

This I do have to say has been my BEST Turkey I ever made (to date). I tried a brand new recipe and I don't know if I will ever try another. This Turkey was not just moist the day we made it, but days later the Turkey left-overs were still moist and delicious. Now that is a perfect Turkey recipe in my world.

Roast Turkey
recipe found at Simply Recipes

1 turkey, approx. 15 lbs.*
Juice of a lemon
Salt and pepper
Olive oil or melted butter
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
Tops and bottoms of a bunch of celery
2 carrots
Sprigs of fresh rosemary
Herb de Provence spice

Defrost the turkey according to the package directions. Then bring it to room temperature before cooking. Keep it in its plastic wrapping until you are ready to cook it.

Handle a raw turkey with the same amount of caution as when you handle raw chicken (I use gloves). Remove the neck and giblets (heart, gizzard, liver). Use the heart and gizzard for making stock (I use this recipe for Homemade Chicken or Turkey stock).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash out the turkey with water. Pull out any remaining feather stubs in the turkey skin. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Lather the inside of the cavity with the juice of half a lemon. Take a small handful of salt and rub all over the inside of the turkey.

In this method of cooking a turkey, we don't make the stuffing in the turkey because doing so adds too much to the cooking time. For flavor, put inside the turkey a half a yellow onion, peeled and quartered, a bunch of parsley, a couple of carrots, and some tops and bottoms of celery. You may need to cap the body cavity with some aluminum foil so that the stuff doesn't easily fall out. Close up the turkey cavity with either string (not nylon string!) or metal skewers.  The neck cavity can be stuffed with parsley too.

Rub either melted butter or olive oil all over the outside of the turkey. Sprinkle salt and pepper generously all over the outside of the turkey.

Place turkey BREAST DOWN on the bottom of a rack over a sturdy roasting pan big enough to catch all the drippings. (yes, this is UPSIDE DOWN) This is the main difference. Cooking the turkey breast down means the skin over the breast will not get so brown. However, all of the juices from the cooking turkey will fall down into the breast while cooking. Add several sprigs of fresh (if possible)  rosemary and dried Herb de Provence spice to the outside of the turkey.

Put the turkey in the oven. Check the cooking directions on the turkey packaging. Gourmet turkeys often don't take as long to cook. For the 15 lb turkey, start the cooking at 400 F for the first 1/2 hour. Then reduce the heat to 350 F for the next 2 hours. Then reduce the heat further to 225 F for the next hour to hour and a half.
If you want the breast to be browned as well, you can turn the bird over so that the breast is on top, and put it in a 500°F oven or under the broiler for 4-5 minutes, just enough to brown the breast. Note that if you do this, you will have a higher risk of overcooking the turkey breast. (I do NOT do this)

Start taking temperature readings with a meat thermometer, inserted deep into the thickest part of the turkey breast and thigh, an hour before the turkey should be done. You want a resulting temperature of 175°F for the dark meat (thighs and legs) and 165°F for the white meat (breast). The temperature of the bird will continue to rise once you take it out of the oven, so take it out when the temperature reading for the thigh is 170°F, and for the breast 160°F.

Once you remove the turkey from the oven, let it rest for 15-20 minutes. Turn the turkey breast side up to carve it.


  1. mmmmm...makes me want to get my hands on a turkey...

  2. I'm making a 22 pounder and would love to try this. Question...are the temperatures the same? I understand I have to cook longer but what about the temps. Thanks. Can't wait!

    1. The temp is same bit like u said cooking time is just longer


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