Bob Leo's Kitchen: Consider Serving Meleagris Gallopavo This Holiday Season
Nov 15, 2014 11:07AM ● Published by Bob Leo
Now not all meleagris is created equal. Be sure to ask your grocer for the pasture raised organic variety. Fresh is more nutritious than frozen and no additives is a must. Poults, hens and toms are equally nutritious and it's best cooked with the skin on but peeled off before consuming. Ok I'm sure all you intelligent readers have figured out I'm talking turkey here.
Over the years I have expounded on the native North American bird from it's history to it's importance to the New World to the sausage stuffing I cram inside it. Today I'd like to give a few pointers on the best way to roast it.
As with all roasted meats "low and slow is the way to go ", but first a little prep is in order. Make sure you wash your turkey with cold water and pat it dry with a paper towel. I like to rub half a lemon on my bird and a little under the skin where I can. It will add flavor but more importantly it will tenderize.
Basting is important. A stick of melted butter mixed with a dollop or two of honey and a sprinkle of Spanish paprika makes a flavorful baste and adds a rich bronze color to your bird. Stuffing your turkey adds cooking time. The rule of thumb is twenty minutes a pound so add the stuffing weight to that formula. If you're into stove top stuffing make sure to put a stalk of celery, a small onion or a carrot in the body cavity for some added flavor.
I also like to put some mirepoix ( celery, onion and carrot mix ) as a liner to the bottom of my roasting pan. You could use a rack or a v-rack or a million other contraptions to keep your turkey off the bottom of the pan but mirepoix does the same thing while infusing flavor. Into a 325 degree oven uncovered it goes, remember to baste periodically and turn your pan from time to time as most ovens cook uneven.
Use a meat thermometer to check for a 165 degrees at the thigh. Always let your meat rest under tinfoil to redistribute the natural juices before carving and there you have it a roast fit for a king or a Pilgrim.