Turkey a la Malia
-After several years of tweaking, I've come to determine how I like to make my turkey. It's a combo of something my mom does, a recommendation from a friend, and a few tidbits from a Real Simple magazine I read the year we were married (and incidentally, the first year I made my own turkey). In addition to the turkey, you will need the following items:
- onions or leeks
- whole heads of garlic
- oranges, one thinly sliced, another 1-2 chunked
- fresh sage leaves
- white wine you would drink (pinot grigio, chardonnay, or sauvignon blanc)
- a tub of garlic herb cheese spread (ie: boursin or aloutte brand). I know that sounds weird. Just trust me.
- chicken broth (a couple of large cartons to be safe)
Last year we didn't have any guests, so I just made one bone-in turkey breast. It was so much easier than doing the whole bird, so I repeated it this year (but I made 2) as we only had 3 guests and my husband was set to leave town for a week right after the holiday--I didn't want gobs of leftovers. I still prepared the turkey in the same fashion and it did not disappoint.
First, I line the bottom of my roasting pan with vegetables to serve as the roasting rack. This makes clean up much easier, and the vegetables flavor the juices/drippings nicely to ensure a delicious gravy. This year I used white onions (peeled, halves), scrubbed whole carrots, and celery stalks.
After I have cleaned/trimmed/tucked the turkey, I stuff the cavity with chunks of oranges, whole heads of garlic (halved) and fresh sage leaves. Since I was doing breasts this year, I just set the open portion of the breast atop these items that I set on the vegetable rack.
To prep the breast portion of the turkey, carefully slide your fingers between the skin and the meat to separate. This is where it starts to get messy...rub the garlic-herb cheese spread between the skin and the meat. I know, it's gross, but it's really good in the end. Then slide some orange slices under the skin as well. You will now have guaranteed juicy and flavorful white meat. I place the turkey on the vegetable rack, pour in some chicken broth (a cup or 2) and slide it in the oven. Here are the two breasts ready to roll.
Don't touch it for the first hour. Meanwhile, melt a stick of unsalted butter with about 1/2 bottle of that white wine on the stove and keep it on low. Every 30 minutes, baste your turkey with the wine/butter mixture. If the turkey becomes too brown before it is cooked through, tent it with foil. You might need to add chicken broth to the pan periodically as it bakes. You don't want the pan to be dry because you will have a tough time making flavorful gravy without the juices. If you don't want gravy, then don't worry about that. When it is done (please, use a meat thermometer to be sure!), let it rest at least 1/2 hour before carving, discard the veggies, and set the roasting pan directly over 2 burners to make the gravy. I add chicken broth, salt/pepper as needed, and then thicken with a slurry of cornstarch/water. I was so busy enjoying it that I didn't take a picture of the finished product. Oops. It was beautiful before sliced. Here it is ready to eat.