Thursday, January 13, 2011

Turkey in 2.5 hours

If you can believe it, this is the first full-sized turkey I've ever made on my own.  We're usually with family for holidays and either my mom or mother-in-law has turkey duty.  But since we were home last Christmas with no family visiting, it was my opportunity to give it a shot solo.  

I decided to go with this recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe, because it sounded easy and delicious, not to mention quick!  

It is a little unconventional in the cooking method; after cooking the turkey at a high temperature (500°!!) for a little while, you pull it out and put a grease tent over it.  You can use a regular brown paper grocery bag, or if you're concerned about the health hazards that have been reported, you can do as I did (following the suggestion of one of the commenter's from Mel's recipe) and staple two cut lunch bags together.  Basically you cut off the bottom of the bag(s), butter both sides of the paper and create a tent over the turkey that is open on both ends.  Like so. 

Then you lower the oven temp to 400° and cook for 2 hours.  My turkey was just under 15 lbs and I think I could have taken it out about 15 minutes earlier, but it ended up just fine.  Delicious, actually.  

I loved the flavor, the juiciness, the smells, everything about it.  Just wonderful!  

My only issue was not being able to make gravy from the drippings because they were a burnt mess on the bottom of my pan....but that happens every time we use this pan for a turkey, so I think it must be an issue with my pan.  Any ideas, veteran turkey makers? 

I can hardly wait for an occasion to make this one again.  

Recipe: (from Mel's Kitchen Cafe)
Printable Version

1 14-22 pound turkey
carrots, celery (cut into large chunks), onion (peeled and cut into large chunks), garlic cloves (peeled and smashed)
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

brown paper bag or 2 lunch bags cut and stapled together

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and let it heat for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, remove giblets and neck and wash the turkey. Fill the cavity of the turkey with carrots, celery, garlic and onion. Combine the lemon juice, salt, pepper and poultry seasoning in a small bowl. With your hands, rub the entire turkey with the lemon juice mixture.

Place the turkey breast down (this is opposite of how a turkey is normally cooked - so just flip the turkey upside down) in a large roasting pan. Place the roasting pan in the hot oven for as many minutes as the turkey weighs (ie. 19 lb. turkey = 19 minutes). Bake for the allotted time.
Meanwhile, grease a large brown paper bag with butter on both sides. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and carefully (because the turkey and roasting pan are HOT) make a tent out of the paper bag and drape it over the turkey, taking care to tuck the sides of the bag into the roasting pan (otherwise, the butter will drip off the bag, leap onto the oven burner and possibly create a large fire.) Turn the oven down to 400 degrees and cook the turkey for two hours.
Remove the roasting pan and turkey from the oven and let turkey sit for 20 minutes. Remove turkey from the roasting pan and pour the drippings into a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil. Make a slurry from flour and water (to the consistency of thick, heavy cream) and add to the drippings until desired consistency is reached.


  1. YUM!! Oh, I wish I had an oven big enough for a 15 lb. turkey. Oh, wait! Turkeys are even hard to find... Someday... It sure looked delicious!

  2. I always make pan gravy from drippings. I always add at least 1 cup of chicken/turkey stock from a box to the pan. I would do this after your flip the turkey breast side up. It will keep the meat moist and although it reduces it concentrates the flavor with the drippings.


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