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Turkey and Roasted Vegetables

November 17, 2012

Through the years I’ve tried various recipes for my Thanksgiving turkey, everything from smoking and roasting on the grill to brining and then roasting in the oven.  I had mixed results until a came upon this fool-proof method of cooking my turkey.  This is absolutely the BEST way to roast the perfect turkey.

Preheat your oven to 500F.  That’s not a mistake!  You are going to initially put your turkey into a screaming-hot oven.  This will cause the skin to crisp up and all the lovely fat to be caught on the inside of the skin, ensuring the turkey will be moist.

Rinse the turkey under cold water and remove the neck and giblets.  (Make sure to keep those bits of goodness for your next batch of bone broth.)  Once you’ve rinsed the turkey, place it on a roasting rack inside your pan.  Pat dry with a paper towel.


1 Red apple, sliced
1 Onion, peeled and sliced
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Cup of water
4 Rosemary sprigs
6 Sage leaves

In a small pot on the stove over medium-high heat, bring the water, apple, onion, and cinnamon to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Drain the water, and add the simmered aromatics along with the rosemary and sage to the cavity of the turkey.  Tuck the wings under the turkey and give the outside a good rub down with extra virgin olive oil.

It’s at this point you want to make your “turkey triangle.”  Using a large piece of aluminum foil, fold it in half to form a triangle.  Fit this triangle over the breast of the turkey, making sort-of a shield.  Once you’ve got it fitted, remove it from the turkey and set it in a safe place on your counter until later.

Place the turkey in the oven for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes remove the turkey from the oven and put in an oven-safe digital thermometer into the thickest part of the breast.  (DO NOT use that little plastic thermometer that sometimes comes in your turkey unless you want a dry bird.)  Cover the breast area of the turkey with your turkey triangle.  Reduce the temperature of the oven to 350F and return the turkey to the oven.  If your thermometer allows you, set the alarm for 161F.  That’s the perfect temperature to pull the turkey from the oven!

Now on to my roasted vegetables.  While my turkey is in the oven I prep carrots, celery, onions and any other root vegetables I can find by washing them, peeling if necessary and cutting them into a very rough chop.  I’m looking for big pieces here.  After the turkey has been going for about an hour at 350F, I open the oven and add all my vegetables to the pan along with 2 cups of white wine.  You can also use chicken broth if you prefer.  The vegetables will roast along with the turkey until it reaches the 161F point.

When the turkey gets to 161F pull it from the oven and let it rest covered for 15-20 minutes.  Place your vegetables in a serving bowl and finally make your gravy from the drippings left in the bottom of the roasting pan.

I learned this technique from one of my favorite Food Network chefs, Alton Brown.  If you want to watch the specific clip I’m referring to you can watch it here.  I’ve adapted it slightly for my family, but you can at least see the famed “turkey triangle.”

Cheers from my family to yours!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Nadia permalink
    November 19, 2013 9:48 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. I had to cook my first turkey last year and read this post along with watxhing the Alton brown clip and my turkey cane out perfect. I will be cooking it the same this year. I was wondering about your thoughts on stand alone turkey roaster ovens… My father-in-law gave it to me. I have no idea how to use it and Im scared to strau from my stove. Is it like a regular oven? It sure would help getting cooking done faster since it would free up the stove.

    • Nadia permalink
      November 19, 2013 9:48 pm

      Ignore the typos. Chubby fingers typing on an iphone. Lol

      • November 20, 2013 7:39 am

        Hi Nadia!
        So glad to hear you tried this method! Honestly, I have never worked with a stand alone turkey roaster so I can’t speak to it specifically. My only concern would be temperature. First, can it reach the 500F mark and hold there consistently. Second, will it maintain the 350F temperature for the duration of the cooking time. I would suggest plugging it in and testing the temperatures with an oven thermometer. It would be great to have another oven to work with on a busy Thanksgiving day!

    • November 20, 2013 4:53 pm

      My mom uses a stand alone roasting pan sometimes, because we usually have to do more than one turkey. Big family! My dad does not like to use the roaster because he says it’s impossible to get crispy skin.

      So, no, I don’t think this method would work well with the roasting pan. But it would be perfect for the day after making a huge batch of bone broth with the turkey bones!

      • Nadia permalink
        November 20, 2013 5:56 pm

        Thanks for the tips. I love the crunchy skin so I will stick to the real oven. I will be making broth with the bones in it then bc i refuse to pay for broth when it asks for them in recipes. Lol


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