Pre-Thanksgiving Feast: Bacon and Herb Roasted Turkey

by Cate on November 20, 2007

On the Martha Stewart episode that I mentioned I watched yesterday, Emeril Lagasse also made an Herb Roasted Turkey, a recipe I decided to make tonight. A paste with softened butter, crispy bacon and chopped, fresh herbs goes under the skin and the turkey breast bakes for a little over an hour, basted a bit with bacon grease, thankyouverymuch. Once it came out of the oven, the skin was golden brown and deliciously crispy, and the meat was juicy, juicy, juicy. Another keeper, which shouldn’t be a surprise. I mean, really, how can you go wrong with butter, bacon and fresh herbs?

Along with the stuffing recipe I made last night, I also made one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes, Cranberry Conserve. If you were ever looking for a cranberry recipe, this one is it. I never liked cranberry sauce until this recipe and I swear it’s eyes-roll-back-in-your-head good. I’m going to make it again for Thanksgiving – this batch is just for me to feast on until then, and by the looks of things, it’s not going to last until then; but in my defense, I shared the batch with two neighbors!

And now for the menu for Thanksgiving. Last weekend, I finally down for a few minutes to hammer it out. I’m big on tradition and wanted to focus on keeping the core of our menu the same from year to year, with a few additions along the way. This way, what hits the table are truly items that we love and look forward to. This will be the third year for many of the dishes.

Appetizers:
Brown Sugar Baked Brie
Sausage Cheese Puffs
Spinach Squares

Main:
The Husband’s Low and Slow Overnight Turkey
Cranberry Conserve
Stuffing
Cranberry Broccoli Salad
Roasted Asparagus
Green Beans with Crispy Shallots
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Bread Basket

Dessert:
Pumpkin Pie
Peanut Pie (I’m looking forward to this one. The recipe comes from a restaurant we visited eons ago on a family vacation growing up.)

I feel like we need one or two more things to add to the appetizer round, but not sure yet. Suggestions?

OK, so that’s the plan for us. I’d love to hear what is hitting YOUR Thanksgiving table.

Bacon and Herb Roasted Turkey
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

Serves 6 to 8

3 strips thick-cut bacon (ok, I might have used more)
1-1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons coarse salt (directions refer to teaspoons, and after tasting it, I think teaspoons makes more sense)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 whole turkey breast (5-1/2 to 6 pounds), rinsed and patted dry

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a shallow roasting pan or baking dish with parchment paper-lined aluminum foil. Place bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat; cook until bacon is crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, reserving 1 tablespoon bacon fat. Let bacon cool.

Finely chop bacon and transfer to a small bowl, along with garlic, sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a small spoon, mix until a paste is formed.

Using your fingertips, gently loosen the skin on both sides of the turkey breast so that it is separated from the flesh. Divide herb paste in half and gently spread half of the paste between each half of the breast. Season turkey with remaining teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Brush skin with reserved bacon fat.

Place turkey in prepared pan and roast, uncovered, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the breast reaches 165 degrees, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove turkey from oven and let rest 20 minutes before carving. Serve with any pan drippings.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Anonymous November 21, 2007 at 2:25 am

I made that Cranberry Conserve when you mentioned it last year and totally agree – yum.

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