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Kiss-of-Lemon Roast Turkey

November 2011
Kiss-of-Lemon Roast Turkey

by 19 people

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Even first-timers will have success with thisbasic bird! For the most flavorful stock ever, we add the turkey wings, so we tell youhow to cut them off in this recipe. Cant bebothered? Just tuck the wings under the birdinstead. For a crowd of 16 to 20 people, buy a20- to 24-lb. turkey and cook it for about 1 hourlonger once the oven temperature is loweredto 350°.

Makes: 12 servings

Prep: 15 mins

Roast: 2 hrs 30 mins

Ingredients
  • 1 turkey (14 to 16 lbs.), rinsed and patted dry (giblets and neck reserved for Easy Turkey Stock
  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 lemon, zested and halved
  • 2 onions, root ends discarded, then halved with skin on
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • Coarse salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Using kitchen shears, cut off the first two joints of the wing, leaving the drumettes attached to the bird (reserve the wings for turkey stock). Let the turkey come to room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
  2. In a small bowl, mash together the butter and lemon zest with a fork. Smear the butter mixture all over the turkey. Squeeze lemon juice over the bird and put the lemon halves in the cavity. Place 2 onion halves in the turkey cavity, and the others in the pan. Sprinkle the thyme, salt and pepper over the turkey.
  3. About 20 minutes before roasting, position a rack in the lowest part of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees . Tie the legs of the turkey together. Transfer to the oven and roast for 1 hour. Rotate the pan a half-turn, lower the temperature to 350 degrees and roast for 1 hour longer. After the second hour, using a bulb baster or brush, baste the turkey with the pan juices. Continue roasting, basting once or twice, until the bird registers 150 degrees to 155 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the inner thigh, about 30 minutes longer. Using tongs or a sturdy spatula and a two-pronged fork, tilt the turkey to pour any juices from the cavity into the pan.
  4. Transfer the turkey to a large carving board, tent with foil and let rest for 30 minutes before carving and while you make gravy.
Variation PANCETTA-BASTED TURKEY:
  • In a large skillet, cook 6 oz. thinly sliced pancetta over medium heat until the fat is rendered but the pancetta is not crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Reserve the fat and let the pancetta cool. With your fingers, carefully loosen the turkey skin away from the meat, from the breast down over the legs and thighs (or, if youre grilling parts, just do this to the breast). Insert the pancetta. Insert about 10 extra-large sage leaves on top of the pancetta. For a whole bird, tie the turkeys legs together. Brush the pancetta fat all over the bird. Season well with coarse salt and pepper. Follow the recipe for Kiss-of-Lemon Roast Turkey or Fresh Herb Grilled Turkey from Step 3.
Variation MUSTARD-MARINATED TURKEY:
  • In a large screwtop glass jar, shake together 1/4 cup spicy brown or country dijon mustard, 3 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tbsp. cider vinegar, 1 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. herbes de provence and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Add 1/2 cup EVOO and shake again. Place the turkey or turkey parts in a brining bag or kitchen trash bag, leaving the top open. Pour in the marinade and rub it all over the bird. Seal the bag, squeezing out most of the air, and refrigerate for at least 12 or up to 24 hours. Transfer the turkey to a roasting pan. Drizzle a little marinade over the bird and let rest at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. Follow the recipe for Kiss-of-Lemon Roast Turkey or Fresh Herb Grilled Turkey from Step 3.
Variation GARLIC-RUBBED TURKEY:
  • In a large screwtop glass jar, shake together 3/4 cup red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp. coarsely chopped garlic, 2 tsp. coarse salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Add 1 1/4 cups EVOO and shake again. Place the turkey in a brining bag or kitchen trash bag, leaving the top open. Pour in the marinade; rub it all over the bird. Seal, squeezing out most of the air; refrigerate for 12 or up to 24 hours. Transfer the turkey to a roasting pan and let rest at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. Follow the recipe for Kiss-of-Lemon Roast Turkey or Fresh Herb Grilled Turkey from Step 3.