Restaurants and professional chefs use a steam oven to roast turkey with moist meat and crispy skin.
Here’s how to turn your oven into an impromptu steam oven to cook a turkey to perfection.
Over the years I have roasted turkey more times than I can count. Literally. With all the holidays we’ve celebrated in 30 years of marriage, I have cooked turkey breast for just the two of us, and have roasted birds almost as big as me for 40+ family members.
A few years ago I discovered Chef Chiarello’s turkey tips and tried them out for our Christmas dinner. It was a smash hit! I have never had so many compliments as I did that day. My sister-in-law Wendy even asked for the recipe so she could use the same technique for the family reunion in the summer.
Even if you know how to roast turkey, try this method and see the difference for yourself. I think you’ll be amazed at how flavorful the meat is and how wonderful the gravy tastes too.
Here’s a video tutorial by Chef Michael Chiarello with written instructions following.
How Much Turkey Do I Need?
The rule of thumb is a pound of turkey per person.
How to Cook Turkey
- Preheat your oven at 375 degrees.
- Remove the plastic and the neck and giblets from the body and neck cavities of a thawed turkey.
- Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and then pat dry with paper towel.
- Put several celery stalks and whole carrots in the bottom of your roasting pan. If you have a rack, place it on top. If not, just set the turkey directly on top of the vegetables.
- Start with the turkey upside down, with the breast facing down. Rub the bird down with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Turn it over and repeat on the breast and legs.
- Don’t truss the turkey’s legs or wings. It cooks thoroughly when the heat can reach all parts evenly.
- Fill the cavity with fresh herbs (grocery stores sell them for a reasonable price now.) Rosemary and thyme are the herbs recommended by Chef Chiarello. Add some lemon slices to the herbs.
- In the video he pours 4 cups of chicken broth into his roasting pan and then puts the roaster on the stove to bring it to a simmer. I suppose this way the vegetables are also affected, but I didn’t want to be transferring a heavy turkey pan, bird and steaming hot stock from one place to another. Instead, I set the roasting pan on the oven rack, simmered the broth in a pot and then poured it into the pan. Makes sense, don’t you think?
- Roast uncovered.
How Long Do I Cook the Turkey
When the oven temperature is set at 375 degrees, you should cook it for 15 to 18 minutes per pound. The meat at the thigh should be an internal temperature of 165 degrees, and the juice should run clear and not be pink. (Chef Chiarello recommends a Digital Instant Read Thermometer.)
Remove the turkey from the pan and let it stand for 15 minutes before carving. This is a great time to make the gravy!