Most things worth doing in life will leave you tired at the end. That goes for working out, finishing the Sunday crossword puzzle or watching the six Star Wars movies in one sitting. Now that I think about it, doing that crossword may not be worth the fatigue that follows. But the drowsiness that follows a great turkey dinner should be worth it.
I’ve read more food articles in the last month talking about how the turkey can be only a supporting player alongside a cast of stuffing, gravy and potatoes. But there are great turkeys to be found and they are well worth a trip to the farmers market or even to the farm itself.
For the second year in a row, I’ll be roasting a turkey from Frantzen’s Scenic Acres in Berne, NY. The turkey last year was rich and meaty and needed no gravy or anything else to liven it up. It would be a lie to say that I didn’t enjoy the sauce that came about from a quick deglaze of the pan with local apple cider and some chopped onions, but the turkey more than holds its own.
Heritage turkeys are a bit more delicate and shouldn’t be cooked at very high temperatures. But we all love the dark and crispy skin so I like to pre-salt the turkey the night before cooking and also add a little bit of apple cider mixed with butter and baste the outside near the end of roasting. That assures you the color and crispy texture that you want without any chance of overcooking.
So have a wonderful Thanksgiving and by all means, write in if you have a turkey recipe or even a great farm you want to mention and I’ll put it up…As soon as I wake up from my post-Thanksgiving nap.
Cider Glazed Heritage Turkey
The night before the meal, sprinkle Kosher salt liberally over the turkey and leave in fridge uncovered overnight
Preheat oven to 325
Peel 4 carrots and 4 parsnips and place in roasting pan
Place an 8-10 pound Heritage turkey on top of vegetables and put pan in oven
Roast for 1 and ¼ hours
In a small saucepan, add a cup of apple cider and 4 tablespoons of butter
Cook on low, stirring to blend
After turkey has been roasting for 1.5 hours, baste the outside with the cider mixture
Sprinkle the outside again lightly with salt
With a meat thermometer, check the thickest part of the turkey thigh. Temperature should read around 165.
When bird has come to temperature, remove from oven. Remove turkey from pan along with parsnips and carrots.
Pour out all but 2 tablespoons of drippings from pan, place pan over 2 burners on stove and add a large chopped onion
Sauté for 5 minutes or until onion softens
Pour in a cup of cider and a half a cup of white wine and scrape bottom of pan with a wooden spoon
Simmer for 5-10 minutes
Season with salt and pepper to taste
Carve turkey and serve roasted veggies and pan sauce alongside