Thanksgiving Turkey

roasted turkeyOn Thanksgiving, your turkey is the main event.  And let me tell you, there’s nothing better than a Heritage Breed Turkey.  Most of the turkeys bred in this country are of the broad-breasted white variety because – you guessed it – they have a lot of breast meat.  Not to mention the fact that they’re injected with all sorts of antibiotics, have never see the light of day, can’t fly, and can’t even reproduce on their own.  In order to get a turkey that you know was well cared for, nourished properly, and lived a long enough life on pasture before slaughter, opt for these domesticated turkeys that are more similar to wild turkeys than commodity poultry.  And if you’re a fan of dark meat – you’re in luck:  because these turkeys run and fly, their legs and wings are big and juicy.  And the best part is, heritage turkeys are so flavorful they don’t need brining and only have to cook until 155 degrees Fahrenheit, which is at least 10 degrees fewer than what most experts suggest for the typical store-bought turkey. The result? A juicy, tender bird with intense turkey flavor.  Check out the Heritage Breed Turkey episode of Hungry in Brooklyn where we meet these beautiful birds.  The second half of the episode demonstrates this recipe below:

Roasted Heritage Turkey

• 1 Turkey, 10-15 pounds
• 1 stick butter (add herbs and roasted garlic if you so desire)
• 1 bundle of thyme, rosemary and sage
• 1 carrot
• 2 stocks of celery
• 1/2 lemon
• 1/2 apple
• 1 onion chopped
• salt and pepper
• 4 cups turkey (or chicken) stock

Preheat the oven to 425. Let the turkey come to room temperature.  Liberally salt and pepper the bird inside and out, then carefully separate the skin from the breast.  Massage a couple tablespoons of butter between the skin and breast, and then stuff the cavity with the rest of the ingredients.  Tie the legs together and tuck the wingtips back, and massage the rest of the butter over the entire turkey.  Place it on the wire rack of your roasting pan (or on top of celery and carrots if you don’t have a rack) and pour about 3-4 cups of stock into the bottom of the pan.  Roast for a half hour uncovered.  Reduce the heat to 350, baste and tent the turkey and return to the oven for another 2 hours, or until the thermometer registers 155.  Allow the turkey to stand about 30 minutes before carving. Because it’s nearly impossible to get the white and dark meat to come to the same temperature at the same time, feel free to remove the legs and thighs and continue roasting for another 30 minutes or until the juices run clear.