It is Thanksgiving morning and I am slightly busy in preparing minor side dishes to take to my parents; this year the turkey is not my responsibility. The festivity does, however, remind me of last year’s turkey that I prepared at home in just under two hours, thanks to a holiday recipe from Safeway (aka Vons). Very fast — no joke!
The secret is a properly thawed turkey, the right pan, high heat, and good fan-powered ventilation (which we lacked so I had to put up with a fair amount of smoke in the kitchen).
- Prepare the turkey. Remove the trusses holding the legs together. Remove giblets (for those not in the know, it’s the bag of extra turkey parts found inside the turkey) and trim off all excess fat around the neck and the body cavity. Rinse the turkey inside and out with warm water, patting it dry with paper towels.
- Get the turkey pan-ready. Rub all of the turkey skin with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle the underside of the bird with salt and pepper. Place the turkey breast up on a V-shaped wire rack in a large 13×16 roasting pan. Salt and pepper the top. Forcibly fold the wing tips completely under the turkey, making sure they do not extend beyond the rim of the pan. Cap the tips of each drumstick with aluminum foil. Do not add stuffing. Make sure the neck and body cavity remains clear and open in order to properly cook the turkey from the inside, necessary due to the rapid cooking time.
- Cook the bird! Set the pan on the lowest rack of a preheated, 475-degree oven. Do not use convection heat. Cooking times: 10-13 lbs = 1 hr; 13-18 lbs = 1 1/2 hrs; 18-22 lbs = 1 3/4 hrs; 22-24 lbs = 2 hrs. Start checking the bird every ten minutes at least fifteen minutes before the appropriate time listed above. If the turkey breast starts getting too dark, cover the dark areas with aluminum foil. Once the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest on the counter loosely covered in foil for at least 30 minutes before carving.
Inexplicably breaking with holiday tradition, my mother has prepared rice as a side dish and cake for dessert, so I’m off to my kitchen to quickly peel and dice potatoes for easy preparation in their kitchen later this afternoon. My homemade cranberry compote (a new variation this year) is cooling in the refrigerator, the pecan pie has been purchased, and the appetite is beginning to grow.
Happy Thanksgiving to all! (And an even happier birthday to my dear friend, Monica!)