Countdown #6 Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey, My Way
- 1 (20- to 22-pound) organic turkey
- 2 carrots
- 2 onions
- 3 stalks celery
- 4 Granny Smith apples
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 1 bunch fresh rosemary
- Herb Compound Duck Fat:
- 2 1/2 cups cold duck fat
- 1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
- 3 fresh bay leaves, chopped
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Separate the turkey legs from the breast, keeping the backbone intact and the legs still attached in the center. Cut the remaining backbone piece from the breast and save (use it in the roasting pan when you cook the turkey). Peel the carrots and onions and roughly chop. Roughly chop the celery. Cut the apples in quarters and remove the cores. Place 1/3 of the vegetables and apples in a container large enough to accommodate the turkey with the vegetables and apples. Season the turkey inside and out with salt and pepper. Rub the cider vinegar into the turkey. Place the breast into the container and top with 1/3 of the vegetables and apples. Add the legs and top with the remaining vegetables and apples. Place in the refrigerator and let marinate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking so the turkey can come to room temperature. Place the vegetables and apples into the bottom of a roasting pan. Place the legs, skin side up, on top of the vegetables, being sure there is room to add the breast later. Put the legs in the oven to cook first, about 1 hour 45 minutes.
While the legs are cooking, make the Herb Compound Duck Fat. Place the cold duck fat in the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment. Add all the chopped herbs and lemon zest. Add the salt and pepper and mix for 1 minute until herbs are evenly dispersed. Place the duck fat-herb mixture in a thick line along the long side of an 18-inch long piece of plastic wrap. Roll into a tube, twist the ends until tight, and then place in the refrigerator to set but not get hard, 30 to 40 minutes.
Slide your hand underneath the skin on top of the turkey breast to separate the skin from the breast. Cut one of the ends off the duck fat tube. Squeeze half of the mixture under the skin on top of one of the breasts and the remaining onto the other breast.
After the legs have cooked, place the thyme and rosemary in the roasting pan. Place the breast on top of the herbs. Roast until both the legs and breast reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 2 hours and 30 minutes longer. Once you remove the bird from the oven, let it rest for 15 minutes before cutting it. Now dig in and have a great day.
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