Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Roasted Turkey w/ Maple Cranberry Glaze

This year was my very first year ever baking a turkey. In the past, I bought turkey drumsticks for myself and a ham for my husband because I was told he didn't like turkey. I later came to find that he just didn't like dry turkey. Who does? So with his permission, I opted not to buy a ham at all (because ham isn't supposed to be served for Thanksgiving dinner anyway) and I bought a fairly small 13-pound turkey. I told him that I will do my very best not to dry it out in the cooking process.

After purchasing the turkey, my hunt began online for the perfect turkey recipe. I didn't want anything too crazy but I didn't want it seasoned with just salt and pepper either. I stumbled across a few good recipes and finally settled on a Paula Deen Recipe. I did my very best to stay true to the recipe so as not to screw up my first turkey. However, I opted not to make her "House Seasoning" and estimated the amounts of the ingredients included with it, because I did not know when/if I would ever use the seasoning again.

My Thanksgiving day started at about 7 a.m. with me rinsing the turkey. This was definitely the most difficult part of the process. I have a 30 lb. 2-year-old who is far easier to bathe than a 13-lb. turkey. However, I accomplished the task all on my own (the hubby was still in bed fast asleep). I was very thankful once I had finished rinsing the turkey and got it into the roasting pan.

Everything went very smoothly after that. According to Paula Deen's recipe, it said that it would take about 18 minutes per pound of turkey to cook. For a 13-lb. turkey, that meant about 4 hours. However, it only took 3 hours to cook! I took it out every hour or so to baste it and after 3 hours, the thermometer that was in the turkey had popped out. To be sure, I checked the temperature with my own meat thermometer and sure enough, it was done. And it looked beautiful!

Roasted Turkey w/ Maple Cranberry Glaze

(The picture was taken after the hubby had carved half of it because being pregnant, I tend to be forgetful about taking pictures.)

Here is the recipe (with my very slight modifications):

1 (15-lb.) turkey
8 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
2 Tbs. minced garlic cloves
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small mixing bowl combine the butter, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, parsley, shallots, and garlic. Thoroughly rinse and dry the turkey. Tuck the wings underneath the body and place the turkey in a roasting pan. Rub the butter mixture all over the turkey.

Roast for 18 minutes per pound (including stuffing weight, if using). The turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh and registers 165 degrees F. and the juices run clear. Remove from the oven and loosely tent with foil. Let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

3 Tbsp. butter
1 (12-oz. bag) cranberries
½ c. maple syrup
¾ c. cranberry juice
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
¾ c. apple cider
¼ c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer until the cranberries burst, about 8 to 10 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve and let cool. Reserve for turkey.

Hubby was very impressed with how easy it was to carve. He didn't have to use a knife at all for the wings and drumsticks. They just came right off! Hubby was very impressed with the turkey not being dry. He had a very large serving of it at dinner and then continued to have it for leftovers. I think it is safe to say that my very first turkey was a SUCCESS!!!!

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