Chris Cosentino separates the legs from the breast to cook each part perfectly. This method also helps the seasonings permeate the meat.
Slideshow: Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes
2 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped
4 Granny Smith apples, quartered
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch rosemary
One 18-pound organic turkey, legs and breast separated
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups cold rendered duck fat or softened butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme
2 tablespoons finely chopped sage
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
1 fresh bay leaf, minced
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
How to Make It
Step 1 Prepare the turkey
In a bowl, toss the carrots, onions, celery, apples, thyme and rosemary. Rub the turkey inside and out with the vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Add one-third of the vegetable mixture to a large pot. Top with the turkey legs and half of the remaining vegetable mixture. Set the turkey breast on top and scatter the remaining vegetables over the breast. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Step 2 Make the herbed fat
In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Keep chilled but still spreadable.
Step 3 Make the herbed fat
Remove the turkey from the pot. Spread half of the vegetable mixture in a roasting pan and the other half on a rimmed baking sheet. Set the turkey breast on the vegetables in the roasting pan and the legs on the baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Step 4 Make the herbed fat
Preheat the oven to 350°. Separate the turkey skin from the breast meat. Spread the herbed fat under the skin of the breasts, pressing to distribute it evenly. Tuck the wings under the breast. Roast the legs for 2 hours and the breast for 2 hours and 15 minutes, basting occasionally. The turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 165° and the thickest part of the breast registers 160°. Let rest for 30 minutes. Carve and serve.
Ask your butcher to separate the whole legs from the bird, keeping them connected at the back bone. Rendered duck fat is available at specialty food stores and online at cybercucina.com.
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