Roasted Heritage Turkey
Heritage turkeys are often leaner and smaller than commercial birds. This means that fast cooking at high temperatures is a better method than slow roasting. In order to preserve the natural flavor of the turkey, brining is not recommended. Make sure you start with a turkey fully at room temperature. Heritage turkeys should then be cooked at 425 to 450 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 140 to 150 degrees. Frequent basting defeats your purpose by lowering the temp of the oven. By adding oil under the skin, the bird is self-basted. Baste the bird only when you remove the parchment tent. If there is not enough liquid for basting, add either more water or wine. Recipe adapted from Sandra Kay Miller.
- 15-pound fresh heritage turkey at room temperature
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 cups giblet broth (see recipe below)
- Rosemary maple margarine (see recipe below)
- Giblet Broth
- 2 cups white wine (a deep, oaky chardonnay lends a wonderful taste)
- 2 cups water
- Giblets and neck
- Bay leaf
- Rosemary Maple Margarine
- ½ pound margarine or coconut oil, softened but not melted
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced rosemary
- Oiled parchment paper (brushed on both sides with any type of cooking oil)
- Giblet Broth: Simmer everything in a small saucepan for 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf and neck. Giblets can be discarded if they aren't your type of thing or they can be finely chopped and added to the broth.
- Rosemary Maple Margarine: Whip all ingredients together.
- Turkey: Rub turkey inside and out with salt and pepper. Loosen the skin around the breast with your fingers and insert seasoned margarine between the meat and the skin as well as on the inside of the bird's cavity. Set bird in deep roasting pan. Use a wire rack to lift the bird off the bottom of the pan.
- Preheat oven to 425 to 450 degrees.
- Add the giblet broth to the bottom of the pan. Using a sheet of oiled parchment paper, tent the roasting pan with the oiled parchment paper. The parchment paper is easily affixed to the roasting pan with a strip of foil on each end or you can use clean, oiled wooden clothespins. Remove parchment paper for the last 30 minutes of cooking to develop a crispy, golden skin.
- Roast the bird until the thigh temperature reaches 140 to 150 degrees, about 2½ to 3½ hours, but start checking internal temperature after 2 hours. Let the bird rest 10 to 15 minutes before carving to let the juices settle.