Roast turkey in fresh aromatic herbs

By on October 31, 2012
Thanksgiving Day is in a few weeks when the mighty bird is expected to grace this year’s dinner table.  Be reminded to order your big bird well in advance to make it in time for the grand day.  Here is a roast turkey recipe packed with all the goodness of fresh rosemary, basil and other herbs matched with a simple baked potato in ricotta cheese that will appeal to most children.Roast turkey in fresh aromatic herbs1 whole  3 kg turkey
170 ml of extra virgin olive oil
1  garlic head, peeled and minced
5 tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon of herbs de Provence (optional)
Rock salt and freshly ground black pepper
Note:  Thaw frozen turkey in advance before preparation.

1. Combine olive oil, garlic, rosemary, basil, herbs, black pepper and salt to make a herb mixture.  Blend well.

2. Wash the inside and outside of the turkey very well, removing the giblets.  Pat with kitchen towel to dry and remove any trace of fat. Rub all over with a good amount of rock salt.

3. Using your fingers lift off very gently the skin on the turkey’s chest area to separate from the flesh.  Be careful not to tear it. Peel the skin over the chest to the drumstick joints.

4. Rub a good amount of herb mixture between the flesh and the skin of the turkey.  Spread evenly covering the entire surface of the chest, thighs and wings.

5. Use the rest of the mixture to season the top of the chest.  Prick cocktail wooden toothpicks to repair the damaged areas, so the surface is evenly covered by skin.  Put turkey in a large dish, cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to seal the herb flavour.  Do not freeze.

6. The next day, place turkey in a large dish on the oven rack.

7. Add enough water so that the bottom of the dish is covered.

8. Adjust roasting time  according to the weight of the turkey.   Generally,  it takes approximately 45 minutes per kilo at 180 ° C oven temperature.  Therefore, to roast a 3-kilo bird would take about 2 hours and 25 mins.

When roasting is done, a baking thermometer pricked on the thigh area should read 82 ° C.   The meat juice should appear clear when pricked with a fork.

How to prepare a classic mushroom gravy
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute chopped mushrooms until brown.  Remove the mushrooms and set aside.
2. Whisk  flour into the butter, and gently cook over low heat for 20 minutes until the flour mixture turns brownish.
3. Add some  chicken broth.  Bring to a slow boil and simmer to thicken the stock. Turn off the heat and set aside.
4. Pour the turkey drippings into a saucepan, add chopped onions and celery and cook over medium to low heat for 15-20 mins until the onions turn brown.  Mix vegetables into the thickened stock. Bring the gravy to a gentle boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes to blend the flavors. Stir in the chopped mushrooms, then season with salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper as desired.
Baked cheese and potato side dish

Serves 4-6  people (180 calories per serving):
1 kilo average size potatoes
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Ricotta cottage cheese
1 cup milk
Black pepper to tasteWash, peel potatoes and slice into one-cm strips.  Steam for 10 minutes. Grease the sides of a baking dish with a little olive oil.  After steaming potatoes, arrange the slices onto the baking dish. Dilute Ricotta cheese in milk and blend.  Pour a spoonful or more of ricotta mix on the first layer and  repeat the process until you fill the baking dish with the rest of the potatoes. Remember that the top layer of potatoes should be covered by the remaining mixture of milk and cottage cheese. Sprinkle with pepper and cook fifteen minutes in the oven at 180 degrees celsius.

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