When my family gets together for Thanksgiving, we often divide cooking duties, with each family providing one or two dishes. But the host always provides the turkey. So when I decided to host a virtual Thanksgiving Dinner, I signed up to provide the main dish.
I’ve been known to mix things up for Thanksgiving — replacing the typical candied yams with sweet potato soufflé; serving cranberry compote in place of relish; even (once) making oyster stuffing. And my family is (mostly) tolerant of my experiments and exploits.
But you don’t mess with the turkey. You season it. You roast it. You serve it.
So when I saw this recipe in Ina Garten’s How Easy Is That?, I decided I’d better test it out ahead of time to make sure it was “traditional” enough for the Thanksgiving table.
The unique thing about this recipe, and what immediately caught my eye, is the use of truffle butter to season the turkey and keep it moist. I checked several local stores but didn’t find it. I knew I could probably find some at Whole Paycheck, but the closest one is about 45 minutes away. So I did what I always do in these situations: I made my own truffle butter.
I made this turkey for dinner a couple of nights ago, along with a few other recipes I wanted to try out for possible inclusion on the Thanksgiving table (stuffed pumpkin with rice and peas; Indiana persimmon pudding; and stuffing made with buttermilk cottage dill bread). It was without question the best turkey I’ve ever had. The meat was moist and flavorful; the skin salty, crispy, and delicious.
Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter
- 1 12- to 14-pound turkey, preferably fresh
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ounces truffle butter, at room temperature
- Truffle salt
- 1 yellow or white onion, unpeeled and cut into 8 pieces
- 1 large head garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
- 1 bunch fresh thyme (10 – 12 sprigs)
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavity, drain juices from turkey, and pat dry with paper towels. Generously sprinkle cavity with Kosher salt and pepper.
- Gently work your fingers (wear gloves if you’re squeamish) between turkey skin and breast meat. Loosen skin of breast, legs, and thighs. Rub about 3 ounces of the truffle butter under skin, covering breast, thighs, and legs. It’s easiest to do this by pushing butter under skin, then rubbing the top of skin to cover meat well.
- Place turkey, breast side up, in roasting pan. Stuff cavity of bird with onion, garlic, and 8 sprigs thyme. Tuck wings under body and tie legs with kitchen twine.
- Melt remaining truffle butter and brush generously over turkey (use it all). Sprinkle with truffle salt, freshly ground black pepper, and remaining thyme leaves, pulled from stems.
- Roast turkey for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until breast meat registers 160°F on a meat thermometer. Cover loosely with foil about halfway through roasting time to prevent skin from overbrowning.
- Remove from oven, cover tightly with heavy-duty foil, and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving.
- While the turkey is resting, skim grease from pan juices (there will be a lot of grease), and thicken the juices to make a delicious gravy.
This turkey is definitely making an appearance on my Thanksgiving table. And I suspect it will be making repeat appearances for years to come.