Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas in Lima.

Lima, Peru
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Do Nothing Turkey with a simple twist

I've made this style of turkey for the last 4 years or so. It is extremely simple and quick. It works with a full turkey or a turkey breast. It maintains the great flavor of the turkey and results in juicy meat if the turkey is removed when the meat reaches 165 F. I've had success with this recipe in a couple different countries from sea level to 8,000 ft. It takes almost no prep work and minimizes your time spent on the turkey allowing you to focus on the side dishes and pie!

It is based upon a recipe from the Food Network by Dave Lieberman.


  • 1 (10 to 12-pound) fresh, defrosted turkey or turkey breast
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons of dry or fresh (preferred) thyme
  • 1-2 tablespoons of dry or fresh (preferred) sage
  • 2 large celery ribs


If you do not have time to do this step in advance, don't worry it will still turn out fine. The night before cooking the turkey, mix the salt, pepper, sage, and thyme in the olive oil. Let them sit overnight.

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Discard bag of gizzards from inside the cavity and rinse the cavity of the turkey with cold water. Pat dry and rub the olive oil mixture all over the bird including the inside of the cavity.

Place the celery sticks on a shallow roasting pan or Pyrex and place the turkey on top of the celery. Add enough water to the dish to cover the bottom 1 cm or 1/4 inch. When you check the temperature of the meat later, make sure the water does not completely evaporate and add more as needed. This keeps the sauce from burning and makes it very fast to create your gravy.

Roast until golden brown, about 2 hours. Cover the breast loosely with foil when golden brown. Cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F in the thigh of the turkey, which will take about 30 minutes more. The cooking time varies greatly with altitude, so the temperature of the meat is the key to not overcooking the turkey. Don't be shy about testing the temperature at regular intervals (30 mins or so) after the first hour.

Transfer to a cutting board to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

To make gravy, simply drain the liquid (avoiding any bone or celery pieces) from the dish into a small sauce pan. Heat it over low heat. Add water if it is too thick, but hopefully there is still plenty of water from the dish. Constantly stir the gravy while heating it, carefully add flour until the mixture starts to become thick. Beware that it will thicken further when it cools, so do not add too much flour. Once you've brought it to a boil and it has the proper texture, you can remove it from the heat. It should only take about 5-10 minutes to complete after the turkey is taken out of the oven.

Serve the turkey and gravy while still warm.