We all survived Thanksgiving with bellies full of turkey, ham, and various yum-yum’s. Let’s not forget what is still peeking around the corner… the rest of the holiday season. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Festivus, there are lengthy meal plans in your future.
If you focus your freshest ingredients and the bulk of your time on the main dish, all the side dishes are just complimentary. You want to make your main dish the showstopper, and this Apple Lemon Rosemary Turkey will do just that. You can also find and plan your sides and dessert through my holiday recipe collection.
For the best turkey deals, check your local supermarkets after Thanksgiving. They usually order far too many gobbles and end up cutting their costs in half to get rid of them. My turkey was about 14 pounds and priced at $23.99 before Thanksgiving. After Thanksgiving? $8.14. Score!
To prepare your turkey for cooking day, place your frozen turkey in a sink full of cold water overnight. When you wake up the next day to clean out the turkey, the inside might still feel frozen. Never fear, the oven has a habit of warming things up quickly.
The next step is just too much for me. I had to ask my guy to step in and help out, for fear of passing out or getting sick to my stomach. I’ve heard a lot of chefs and cooks on television say you should be 100% comfortable with the meat you’re cooking. This is all well and good, but that will be the flipping day I put my hand inside of a bird’s pooper and clean out the guts. Don’t forget to remove the neck too!
Place 3 – 5 celery stocks at the bottom of the turkey plan. This will help the turkey from sitting directly on the bottom, and will also result in more drippings! Once the celery is placed down, add a ½ cup of water to the base of the pan.
The above ingredients are more than enough to stuff your turkey, if you have a turkey up to 20 pounds. If you’re serving a larger turkey, you might want to buy an extra lemon or onion.
Cut the lemons in half and your apples and onions in quarters. Stuff a mixture of apples, onions, rosemary, cinnamon sticks, and whole garlic cloves inside your turkey. If you have extra ingredients, add them to the pan around the turkey. This will make your broth rich and hearty.
Take one lemon half and squeeze the juice over the skin of the turkey. Add butter to the skin and under the skin (between the skin and the meat). Add plenty of parsley, salt, and pepper for seasoning. Cover your entire turkey pan in tin foil and place into a hot oven.
The size of your turkey determines the length of time your turkey will cook. The USDA supplies a great website to explain timing and safety for turkey cookers. I cooked my 14 pound turkey at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, then turned the oven down to 350 degrees. The turkey cooked for roughly four hours until completed. Once every 60-90 minutes, baste the turkey to replenish the juices.
When your turkey looks about done, make sure to double-check the temperature with a meat thermometer. The lowest safe temperature for turkey is 165 degrees. To check for this temperature, insert the thermometer in two places: the thickest area of the breast, and the thigh, in a spot away from the bone. If the thermometer reads 165 or above, your turkey is ready to gobble. Figuratively, not literally.
Remove your turkey legs and thighs first. Carve the breasts off the turkey and make sure to save your drippings!
Serve your turkey with some delicious sides. Voila! You have an incredibly easy, flavorful holiday meal.
Apple Lemon Rosemary Turkey
– Fresh turkey (up to 20 lbs.)
– 3 medium onions
– 3 lemons
– 2 apples
– 1 garlic clove
– 3+ rosemary strands
– 3+ cinnamon sticks
– 1 stick of butter (more or less is your choice!)
– salt, pepper, parsley
1. Defrost your turkey and remove the giblets and neck. Clean the entire turkey with water until completely clean inside and outside.
2. Cut apples and onions into quarters. Cut lemons into halves. Divide garlic cloves from bulb and remove the skin.
3. Lay your turkey on top of 3+ celery stalks and a ½ cup of water. Stuff your turkey with onions, lemons, apples, garlic, rosemary, and cinnamon. If there are extra ingredients, spread around the turkey pan.
4. Take one half lemon and squeeze the juice over the turkey skin. Rub butter on the skin and between the skin and meat. Season with salt, pepper, and parsley.
5. Cook the turkey at 450 degrees for 20-30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees. For cooking time, the average rule is about 20-25 minutes per pound of turkey.
6. Baste your turkey every 60 – 90 minutes. Check the temperature with a meat thermometer.
7. When your turkey is at 165 degrees or above, take out of the oven, carve, and enjoy!