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Lemon and Fennel Roast Turkey

Lemon and Fennel Roast Turkey

Adapted from Bon Appetit, Salt-Roasted Turkey with Lemon and Oregano, November 2010

Makes 8 to 10 servings

For the salt rub:
1/3 cup coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon ground black pepper

For the turkey:
1 turkey (14 to 16 pounds)
3 lemons, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 fennel bulb (mix of green and white portions), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups turkey stock, or low-salt chicken broth, divided

1. Prepare the salt rub: Mix all of the salt rub ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Prepare the turkey: Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey.* Pull out the metal insert that holds the legs and remove the fat pads from the neck and main cavities. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of the salt rub over the inside cavities. Slide the bird into a turkey-size oven bag, then sprinkle the remaining salt rub over the bird. Close the bag and place it on a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate the turkey for 24 hours.

3. Roast the turkey: Set the oven rack at the lowest position in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a rack in a large roasting pan. Rinse the turkey and pat it dry. Combine the lemons, celery, fennel, onion, black pepper, and salt, along with ¼ cup of the olive oil, and 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice, in a large bowl. Spoon the mixture into the main cavity of the turkey.

4. Whisk the remaining olive oil and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Tuck the turkey wing tips under the body and tie the legs loosely together. Place the turkey on the roasting rack and brush it with some of the lemon oil. Pour 2 cups of stock into the roasting pan and roast the turkey for 1 hour, then brush the turkey all over with the remaining lemon oil.

5. Roast the turkey for 45 minutes, then pour 1 cup of stock into the pan. Roast for another 45 minutes, then add 1/2 cup to 1 1/2 cups stock into the pan to maintain the liquid level. Turn the pan around. Roast until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh (without touching bone) registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit (about 45 minutes longer).

6. Let the turkey rest: Transfer the turkey to a platter, but reserve the juices from the pan. Tent the turkey loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for 30 to 45 minutes. (The internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees during this time). While the turkey rests, prepare the gravy.

*Recipe Notes: You can use the giblets and neck to make your gravy. Put them in 5 cups of water and bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat down to maintain a simmer, and let everything cook for 1 hour, then strain the stock and set it aside to use when making the gravy.