Truffle Butter Roast Turkey

Truffle Butter Roast Turkey

A couple weeks ago, I was perusing my Recipe Index, planning out the Thanksgiving-y dishes I’d make and share for this year, hoping to give my readers an idea or two of what to serve for your Thanksgiving spreads, and it occurred to me there is no Thanksgiving turkey anywhere here. And now I shall correct that.

Thanksgiving turkey, ready for the oven

I spent the day on Monday prepping and roasting this bird, which brought back memories of the first Thanksgiving Matt and I were married. I was in law school, and law students don’t really get a Thanksgiving break per se, seeing as finals are imminent. So we stayed home, but we still wanted a Thanksgiving dinner. I was not much of a cook then, so I naively figured, oh how hard can it be to whip up a Thanksgiving dinner for two? Just a few dishes, some turkey, and a pumpkin pie.

truffle butter rubbed turkey, before roasting

Well, a small Thanksgiving spread can be very easy and doable, but roasting a whole turkey when you don’t know what you’re doing can raise the difficulty level, oh I don’t know, just a tad. I found a recipe online, and it assumed I was a much more advanced cook than I was, so the directions weren’t idiot-proof. The recipe said to roast the bird at a low temperature, I think around 300 F. But I remembered that I’d always seen my mom covering turkeys in foil, so I did too. I checked the internal temperature after about two hours and it was nowhere near done. So we let it go some more; the internal temperature was slogging upwards at a snail’s pace, and we were getting hungry.

truffle butter roast turkey

A couple phone calls to my mom later, I learned that covering the bird in foil is only required if you’re cooking at a higher temperature, and cooking at around 300 F did not require this step. Oops. All told, the bird took seven hours to cook. Yep, seven friggin hours, and no, it was not a huge turkey. But may I just say, it was then and still remains the most delicious roast turkey I have ever tasted. It was unbelievably moist and tender.

truffle butter roast turkey leg and wing

And though it was so superlative, it was the hugest pain in the katoosh, so I have exactly zero plans to replicate it. In the meantime, this lovely bird will more than suffice. It was plenty tasty, I guarantee you no one will complain, and since you’re using truffle butter, your guests will think you went all out for them. In reality, truffle butter really isn’t that expensive if you only use it a few times a year. I picked up 4 ounces for $7. Cook time only took 3 hours, and we absolutely loved it. And unlike the one I tried all those years ago, this one really is idiot-proof. I highly recommend! Oh, and don’t forget to make gravy like I did. It’s moist enough that gravy isn’t technically needed, but isn’t it always wanted? That is precisely why I don’t have any photos of a composed plate of food….

Truffle Butter Roast Turkey, breast carved and sliced

roast turkey leg and wing

{One year ago: Stuffing Bruschetta}

Source: adapted from Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? by Ina Garten

1 (12 to 14) lb. whole turkey, thawed completely if frozen, neck and giblets removed
3-4 oz. white truffle butter, at room temperature
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 large yellow onion, cut into eighths and peeled
1 whole head of garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
Large bunch of fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Drain any juices from the turkey cavity and place the turkey skin-side down on a rack in a roasting pan. If you do not have a roasting pan, simply wrap a baking sheet in foil, then stick a cooling rack inside it. Place the turkey on the cooling rack and proceed.
Pat the entire turkey dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the underside of the turkey with salt and pepper, then flip it over so it’s sitting skin side up.
Remove your rings, and with clean hands, gently run your fingers between the skin and the meat to loosen the skin, starting at the cavity end. Take care not to tear the skin. Depending on how long your fingers are, you’ll likely get only halfway up the breast. It’s fine; much more important to not tear the skin than to loosen the whole thing.
Place about half of the softened truffle butter under the skin and gently massage it to spread the butter under as much of the skin as possible. Take the rest of the butter and spread it on the legs, wings, and the upper part of the breast that didn’t get any butter under its skin.
Season the cavity generously with salt and pepper. Place the onion, garlic, and about half the thyme sprigs in the cavity. Tie the legs together with kitchen string, and tie one length of string around the bird and the wings to keep the wings close to the body during roasting.
Sprinkle the rest of the outside of the bird with salt and pepper. Remove 1 tablespoon of leaves from the remaining thyme sprigs and chop them. Sprinkle them evenly over the turkey.
Slide the turkey into the oven and roast for 2 ½ to 3 hours, until the internal temperature of the center-most part of the breast reads 165 F. Halfway through cooking, or whenever the skin has turned golden and crispy, loosely cover the bird with foil. If it appears your bird is cooking too slowly or too quickly, you probably have the meat thermometer inserted incorrectly. Jab it a few other places and get a read on where the bird really is. Mine took exactly 3 hours.
When the turkey is cooked through, remove it from the oven and let it rest, covered tightly with new foil, for 15 to 20 minutes. Carve and serve with the pan juices.

3 responses to “Truffle Butter Roast Turkey

  1. Unless this is an homage to Ina Garten, not what is implied in your post of what you did, this is not ‘adapted’ from her recipe? It IS her exact recipe from her cookbook “How Easy Is That” (not “idiot-proof”) except making the gravy. You practically copied it using her language and wrote about it like it was your idea. Puhleez don’t plagiarize. Just say you made her recipe.

    • Texan New Yorker

      Hi Shelly, thanks for stopping by! I wrote that I adapted the recipe specifically because I made a few changes from Ina’s. I used 4 ounces of truffle butter instead of 3, and I smeared the butter on the outside of the bird as well as putting it under the skin, whereas Ina’s cookbook only instructs to put the butter under the skin. Also, I did put the directions in my own words – of course they’re very close to the original, but that’s to be expected. And the pictures are my own. I gave credit where it’s due; there was nothing plagiarized!

  2. Pingback: Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up 2014 | The Texan New Yorker

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