Juicy Oven-Free Holiday Turkey
1-10 pound whole turkey
1-cup white onion chopped into small dice
1/2-cup celery chopped into small dice
1/2-cup carrot chopped into small dice
Fresh parsley (2-teaspoons finely chopped plus 3 whole sprigs)
Fresh thyme (1-teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves plus 3 whole sprigs)
Fresh sage (½ -teaspoon finely chopped plus 2 whole sprigs)
Fresh rosemary (½ -teaspoon finely chopped plus 2 whole sprigs)
Browning and seasoning sauce (found in the spice aisle of your grocery store)
4-ounces unsalted butter (softened)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
Soften one stick (4 ounces) of butter and place it in a medium bowl. Add the chopped parsley, thyme, sage, and rosemary to the bowl and mix to incorporate. Reserve half of the mixture to prepare the turkey. Place the other half of the butter in the center of a piece of plastic wrap. Roll the wrap over the butter and twist both ends tightly to form a cylinder. (…as salt-water taffy is wrapped) Place the rolled butter in the freezer for thirty minutes to set. (4 Tablespoons of herb butter are needed for the gravy.) You may store this in a sealed freezer bag in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to six months.
Clean and pat the turkey dry. Be certain to remove the giblets and neck from the cavities of the bird. Without tearing, use your hands to just separate the skin from both sides of the breast. Rub the herb butter under the skin to coat the meat. Use the butter left on your hands to coat all of the outside skin. Wash your hands. Liberally salt and pepper all sides of the turkey including the cavity. Stuff the cavity with the herb sprigs. Fold the wings underneath the neck. Secure the legs with butcher’s twine or tuck them into the pierced skin flap at the tailbone. Wash your hands.
Cover the bottom of the 8-quart stock
pot with ¾ of the chopped onion, celery, and carrot. (Reserve the remaining ¼ of the vegetables to cook the giblets.) Season the vegetables with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Add ½ cup of water. Place the turkey on top of the vegetables.
Cover the pot and place it over medium heat. Cook until steam just begins to escape from under the lid (about 15 minutes). Spin the lid to engage the Vapor Seal. Immediately reduce the heat to low.
Uncover the pot after 45 minutes. Using a silicone or pastry brush, baste the turkey with the browning and seasoning sauce. This will help flavor the skin and achieve a nice golden brown color. Cover the pot and continue cooking. Baste the turkey after another 20 minutes. After two bastings with the browning and seasoning sauce, additional bastings should include the juices from the pot to moisten the bird.
Check the temperature of the turkey after 1 hour and 30 minutes of cooking by inserting a thermometer into the thigh without touching the bone. Any juices should be clear. The temperature should read 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If the bird hasn’t reached this temperature, baste the bird again and replace the cover. Cook another few minutes. When the turkey reaches the desired temperature, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to rest, uncovered for 10-15 minutes.
Transfer the turkey to a serving platter. Use caution, as there will be hot juices in the cavity of the bird.
Strain the broth and reserve it to make gravy in the same pot.
Cooking The Giblets
Place the remaining onion, celery, and carrot mixture in the bottom of the 1-quart saucepan. Add ¼ cup of water. Place the giblets and neck on top of the vegetables. Season everything with salt and pepper. You may add some sprigs of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme for additional flavor.
Place the covered saucepan over medium heat. Cook until steam just begins to escape from under the lid. Spin the lid to engage the Vapor Seal. Immediately reduce the heat to low.
Cook for 10 minutes. Remove the liver and heart if they have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue cooking the neck and kidneys for an additional 30 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat. Pick the meat from the neck and finely chop the giblets to add to the gravy, if desired.
Make a roux in the 8-quart stock pot by placing the pot over medium heat.
Add 4 Tablespoons of the herb butter to the pan. Melt the butter. While whisking, sprinkle the flour over the melted butter. Continue whisking and cook for 3-4 minutes. This will cook out the flour taste. Heat the reserved broth and any additional liquid to be added. When the mixture is bubbly and pale, whisk in the broth reserved from the pot a little bit at a time. Bring the mixture to a boil. Adjust the consistency of the gravy by adding additional hot stock, water, even a bit of white wine (optional). Add the cooked giblets if desired. Heat everything to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
Important Tip: When handling raw poultry, wash your hands often with hot soapy water. Wash any surfaces and utensils that come in contact with the bird with hot, soapy water as well. This will help avoid cross-contamination.