I’ve been hosting Thanksgiving dinner for several years. Because I enjoy cooking and can plan and multitask like no one’s business, Thanksgiving is totally doable for me. And I love that I can make it all gluten, dairy, and cane-sugar free, and everyone always, every year, raves about the food. They can’t tell my stuffing is gluten free, or that the sweet potatoes aren’t swimming in cane-sugar, or the gravy is Paleo (gasp)! So when I started hosting the thought of roasting an entire turkey was completely unappealing. I mean, yes, it looks lovely, but it takes so long and it just made more sense (to me) to buy turkey parts and roast them to their appropriate doneness (as we all know, white meat cooks differently than dark meat). I’ve also noticed that turkey legs are really popular and I like having more than two available. I’ve really enjoyed preparing turkey this way and my guests seem to enjoy it as well. Perfectly moist breast meat and perfectly moist dark meat?! Yes please. I wanted to share my method with you in case you were feeling a little overwhelmed by the whole bird. By the way, brining turkey is a necessary step to that delicious, moist meat…so don’t skip it! Gobble-gobble.
- Four turkey legs, four thighs, and 2 turkey breasts (around 7 - 8 pounds of turkey).
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 medium lemon sliced
- 5 - 7 garlic cloves chopped
- 12 sprigs thyme or savory
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic granules
- Drizzle of oil (I use walnut)
- Brine turkey parts for 12-18 hours. See notes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- To the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass Pyrex (or other roasting pan of that size) add the onion, garlic, ½ of the thyme, half of the lemon slices, and water. Add either the dark meat or white meat to fit the pan (don't crowd the pan). Drizzle turkey with oil, sprinkle with salt and garlic granules, and add the remaining lemon slices to the top of the turkey. Finish by adding the few final sprigs of thyme. Cover and roast until internal temperature hits at least 165 degrees (170-180 is great). Make sure all turkey juices run clear.
2. For the cooking, add the breasts in first, as they take longer to cook. I give them at least 90 minutes and check. Add the dark meat in slightly later. Keep checking meat and remove when it hits the right temperature.
3. Place all meat in a large bowl and cover while you make the gravy. This method helps the meat stay warm and moist!
- 2 cups soaked cashews (soaked 4 - 6 hours).
- All the juices from the roasted turkey.
- To a blender (high speed preferably) add in all the juices from the roasted turkey, including the garlic, onions, and one or two lemon slices.
- Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.
- Turn on the blender and start adding the soaked cashews until your preferred thickness.
- Add to a gravy boat and top with cracked black pepper.