The Dish With Anita: Roasted Turkey - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

The Dish With Anita: Roasted Turkey

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It's that time of year when a lot of people, men and women alike will be roasting their Thanksgiving Day bird, be it chicken, duck, goose or more commonly, a turkey. Of course some of you will be petrified, just as I was so many years ago when my mother entrusted me with making the Thanksgiving Day meal solo for the first time. Now that I consider myself a seasoned veteran of Thanksgiving Day cooking, I happily pass along the tried and true tips my mom passed along to me so many years ago.

First, decide what size turkey you'll need. This is best done once you know exactly how many guests you will be serving. Allot for 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per guest -- for example if you are having 12 to 15 guests you will need a 20- to 25-pound turkey.

For 20 or more you might consider roasting two or more turkeys. I keep a counter top roaster in my pantry when I need to roast more than one turkey. It's a great investment if you entertain a lot. The most important advice I can give anyone attempting to roast a turkey for the first time is to use a Butterball turkey -- it's the only turkey I have ever used and continue to use to this day. It is by far the best turkey (in my opinion) you can buy. It's almost impossible to ruin this bird, honest! Just follow the instructions that come with the turkey for best results.

I generally cook my turkey unstuffed, but for this recipe I have included additional instructions for those of you who like to stuff your bird. This year I have decided to make homemade cranberry sauce in place of that gelatinous mass from a can that we are all so used to. I thought, why put in all that effort with the turkey, stuffing, yams and such then fall short at the cranberry sauce? I found a couple of recipes that I like and are very easy to make. Also, if you want to save time, make the sauce the day before.

I'm also including my favorite recipe for roasted garlic mashed potatoes and my mother's traditional giblet gravy. I hope you will come to love these recipes and use them for years to come. Enjoy!

10 to12 lb Butterball Turkey, thawed
1/2 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp each of the following:
Kosher salt
Garlic powder
Poultry seasoning

Aromatics for inside the turkey during baking: (for unstuffed birds)
3 celery stalks cut in half with leaves attached
1 large onion quartered (peeled or unpeeled)
Head of garlic whole or cut in half
4 bay leaves
3 to 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1/2 orange, with peel
1/2 lemon, with peel

Thaw turkey in frig in a pan. Depending on how much the turkey weighs, this will take about 2 to 3 days. Once the turkey has thawed, remove outer wrapping. Also it's very important to remove turkey parts from neck and breast cavities. Place the parts in a Ziploc bag and store in the frig for later use - do not discard!

Holding the turkey over the sink, gently shake out any excess liquid or ice that might be inside the bird. Place on a cutting board and using paper towels, pat the outside and inside of the turkey dry, place in roasting pan. In a small bowl, combine butter, olive oil, pepper, salt, garlic powder, thyme and poultry seasoning. Set aside. Next, place aromatics inside turkey. With your hands or a pastry brush cover entire turkey - front and back - with the butter, olive oil and seasoning mixture. Gently lift skin covering the breast of the turkey and apply the seasoning mixture there as well. Next, place some of the onion and garlic under the flap of neck skin and tuck the wing tips over and under the flap to secure the skin. Take a small piece of twine and tie the drumsticks together (if possible prepare the turkey the night before).

Adjust rack to lowest position in oven. Remove all other racks. Preheat to 325 degrees.

Place a tent of aluminum foil over turkey and cook for 2 hours. Remove the foil (keep foil on tips of the wings, top of breast and drumsticks) and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F and continue cooking for about 45 more minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 180 degrees F in the deep part of the thigh of the bird.

Roasting times will vary according to the size of the turkey. Generally 20 minutes per pound is the standard. For more tips on how to cook your turkey go to

Garlic Mashed Potatoes
3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
Low sodium chicken broth (just enough to cover potatoes)
1 to 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
15 to 20 cloves roasted garlic
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup mayonnaise
8 tablespoons divided (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh chives

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the top off the garlic and wrap it in foil leaving the top, cut edge exposed. Drizzle on some olive oil and bake for 45 minutes, until the garlic is soft and caramelized. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit. This can also be done a day in advance.

Meanwhile, peel the potatoes, cut them into quarters and put them into a medium sized pot. Cover them with the broth and add a teaspoon of salt. Bring them to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to medium and simmer until they are tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. If a lot of the broth has not evaporated, strain some of it off - but not all. Using broth instead of water, when cooking the potatoes, adds more flavor.

In a small bowl, mix heavy cream, 1/2 of the butter and mayonnaise and place in microwave and heat until warm. Place hot potatoes in a large mixing bowl with butter, cream mixture and remaining salt, pepper and garlic. Mash with a potato masher until smooth. It's okay if there are a few lumps, as these are not creamed potatoes. Add chives last, mix well, then add the remaining butter and mix again. Add more cream if they are too dry. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce
1 1/2 cup sugar or Splenda
1 cup water
2 12-ounce packages of Ocean Spray Fresh or frozen cranberries
Zest and juice from one fresh orange
Zest and juice from ½ fresh lemon
2 cinnamon sticks (fresh)

Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add cranberries, cinnamon sticks, orange juice and zest, lemon juice and zest and return to boil. It is normal for the cranberries to "pop" or explode when boiled. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally for additional 7 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and cool completely at room temperature. Remove cinnamon sticks and refrigerate until serving time. This is a great make ahead dish. It only gets better with time. Makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups.

Giblet Gravy

Giblets from one turkey
4 cups cold water
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
2 cups pan drippings or chicken broth
1/2 cup milk or half and half
1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper
2 hard cooked eggs, chopped

Place giblets (except for liver) in saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for an hour. Then add liver and simmer for another 30 minutes. Drain and allow to cool. Chop and set aside.

Melt butter in saucepan or skillet, stir in flour cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes or until butter starts to lightly brown. Slowly stir in drippings or broth and milk or Half and Half and continue cooking, stirring until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Add chopped eggs and giblets last. This makes about 3 cups.

Food Tips:

*For additional cooking times for larger turkeys, go to for a weight and time chart.

* If you decide you would like an even easier way to make your turkey, Jenny-O makes a whole turkey that takes less than 3 hours to cook. It is sold in the meat department of most supermarkets. If you call in advance, some store will order them for you. It is a little more expensive than a regular turkey, but tastes great and is not a lot of work.

* If your turkey does not give up enough liquid, keep cans or boxes of chicken broth on hand for gravies and stuffing and basting.

*Cut up vegetables for your recipes a few days in advance to save time and store in marked Ziploc bags.

*If you are stuffing your turkey, a 10 to 20 pound stuffed turkey should cook for 3 3/4 to 4 1/2 hours. A 25 to 30 pound stuffed turkey should cook about 5 1/2 to 6 1/4 hours.

Anita's Basic Brine Recipe
(This recipe will brine a 14 to 20lb turkey)

Brining is a great way to a add flavor and moisture to your turkey. While it can be a bit involved, it is definitely worth the effort.

Plan to brine your turkey for 12 to 18 hours. Depending on the weight of the turkey for turkeys over 18 lbs 24 hours is recommended.

Once your bird has brined, remove from liquid and give the bird a good rinse with cold water inside and out to remove excess brine residue. This next step is very important: pat the turkey completely dry (I use a couple of clean white tea towels so as not to use up an entire roll of paper towels!)

Place in a roasting pan and place in the fridge uncovered until ready to dress. It is very important to make sure outside of the turkey skin is very dry in order to produce a crispy golden skin. Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

Step one:


2 gallons water
2 cups kosher or sea salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
3 to 4 tbsp cracked black pepper corns
2 tbsp crushed coriander seeds
2 tbsp whole allspice berries
1 bulb garlic, smashed whole with paper left on
1 large onion peeled and quartered


In a large stock pot bring 2 gallons of water to a boil then reduce heat. Carefully add salt and stir until all salt has dissolved. Add above remaining ingredients and let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat let and cool completely before adding remaining ingredients (below).

Step two:
(Very important - add only after liquid has cooled)


5 or 6 sprigs of fresh rosemary, rough chopped
1 bunch of each - sage & thyme rough chopped
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 orange & 1 lemon, juiced then quartered
1 tsp red pepper flakes
10 bay leaves, crumbled


Place turkey breast-side down in a container large enough for the turkey to be completely immersed in brining liquid. Seal the container and place in the fridge for 10 to 18 hours
(24 hours for turkeys over 18 lbs.).

If container is to big for your fridge place container in a large ice chest and place bags of tightly sealed ice around sealed container; it will keep overnight. Check periodically to make sure ice has not melted.

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