The first time I tried to cook a turkey, I had never seen anyone else cook a turkey. My family had always bought pre-cooked ones. But my grandma bought a fridge, and with the fridge came a 20 pound turkey. So I looked up a few recipes. Bought the ingredients for one and got up in the morning to cook it. Only my recipe was a brine recipe. I had never heard of this before and started to panic.
I sat on my bed sobbing. Then my husband came in and said “It’s okay, there’s a chicken there. We can have chicken.”
I, of course, cried harder and said “We’re supposed to have *turkey*!”
But then it dawned on me. I had a fail proof chicken recipe that everyone loved and a turkey is just a big chicken, right? And a little over four hours later, we had a delicious turkey a la chicken.
The best part about this recipe is you can tweak everything to what you have on hand, or to your own personal tastes and it’s extremely forgiving. You’ll get a moist well cooked bird of choice pretty much every time.
3 Sprigs Rosemary
6 Sprigs Thyme
1 head plus 6 cloves garlic
1 stick of butter, softened
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Take your turkey and clean out the cavity. Dry inside and out with a paper towel.
Into the cavity shove 2 of the lemons, quartered, 2 springs rosemary, 4 springs thyme and some sage, 6 leaves, ’cause why not? A whole head of garlic follows that. Do this however takes your fancy in the moment. Just cut it in half, or peel each individual clove, whatever. I tend to remove the cloves from the head, but not peel them.
Tie your legs together and tuck your wings under. Or don’t. I never do and it’s always moist and delicious and well cooked. One day I’ll remember to buy kitchen twine. Never forget the wine, though.
Now get your softened butter, and squeeze the juice of one lemon into it. Take your rosemary and thyme leaves off the stalk and tear up a couple of leaves of sage. You can chuck this into the butter as is, or chop it as finely as looks good. Whatever! Have you opened the wine yet?
Crush the 6 cloves of garlic and put those in the butter. If you don’t want to do this, throw three teaspoons of jarred crushed garlic in.
Salt and pepper goes in now.
Mix the butter up and massage allllllllll over your turkey. Imagine a hot celebrity’s buttocks (or your partner’s, but that’s less fun). Don’t miss any bits because everywhere the butter touches will be golden crunchy deliciousness. Refill your wine.
Put two-ish cups of water in the bottom of your roaster (don’t let it touch the bird). This is for basting throughout cooking. You don’t need to remember this part, the lemon and butter keeps it really very moist. But if you remember, which I never do, it’ll probably be really awesome.