Roast Pasture-Raised Grove Ladder Farm Turkey

What an amazing treat it was to not only enjoy this delicious 10 lb. pasture-raised, hormone and antibiotic free turkey from Grove Ladder Farm but to cook it as well. With a product this pristine, season it very simply with kosher salt, black pepper, fresh sprigs of rosemary and extra virgin olive oil. Put it on a bed of mirepoix (yellow onions, organic celery, and organic carrots) to keep it off the roasting pan. Nothing goes to waste; you can also use the drippings and the roasted veggies to make a flourless gravy!

One very important thing to note when cooking a pasture-raised turkey (or chicken) is that it will be MUCH leaner than commercially farmed turkeys, and therefore will cook in  LESS time than fattier, commercial birds.  To be safe use an oven-safe probe meat thermometer and cook it until the temp reaches 165F.  You will be pleasantly surprised that you won’t have to spend hours upon hours cooking this beautiful product.  Additionally, we did not brine this bird as the flavor needs no enhancing.  Having said that, we always brine commercial turkeys.

If you want to learn more about cooking pastured turkeys check out the following link:  http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/pastured-turkey-cooking-tips-zm0z13onzmat.

There is also the question about what to do with the giblets.  Scroll down to see how you can use them to make homemade poultry stock that we used to in making our brown rice stuffing and flourless gravy.

This is part of  “A Florida Family Farm Thanksgiving“, a collaboration of Worden Farm with Tim and Chelsea Clarkson, owners of Grove Ladder Farm, in Sarasota, Florida specializing in pasture-raised, hormone and antibiotic free poultry and eggs, and Ray Toves, a Sarasota-based chef and food photographer, who prepared his original recipes and photographed the food and the event. The series includes photos and recipes of the food and festivities that our two families shared during our early Thanksgiving dinner held on our farm in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Preparation Time:  30 minutes (obviously much longer if you purchased a frozen turkey)

Cooking Time: 2 – 2 1/2 hours (about one hour for every 5 lbs) but go with the meat thermometer reaching 165F.

Serves:  6 (plan on 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of turkey per guest).

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen or fresh pasture-raised, hormone and antibiotic free Grove Ladder Farm turkey with giblets.
    • Set aside giblets to roast with additional chicken parts from Grove Ladder Farm for making stock (scroll to the bottom of this post for more on this).
  • 1 large onion large dice
  • 4 stalks celery large dice
  • 3 large carrots peeled and large dice
  • 5-6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs kosher salt
  • 1 tbs black pepper

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Preparation:

  • Preheat your oven to 400F and set the top rack to the second from the bottom level.
  • Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil, or not.  (I do because it makes clean up that much easier.)
  • Cut the onions, celery and carrots into large chunks about 2 to 3 inches long and wide, and place the veggies all around the bottom of the roasting pan.
  • Remove the turkey from the packaging and place on a cutting board (ideally one that is used for poultry only).
  • Do not rinse or wash the bird as you run a greater risk of cross-contamination from all the wash water splashing onto surfaces around the sink.
  • Remove any giblets from the cavity.
  • Stuff the bird if you wish but it will allow for a more even cooking if it is not stuffed. By the time the stuffing is fully cooked the meat on the exterior of the turkey is well over-cooked.
  • Season liberally with kosher salt and black pepper, including inside the cavity; rub the turkey all over with extra virgin olive oil, then finally place a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary in the cavity and around the bird.
  • Tie the legs together using cooking twine.
  • Place the seasoned, oiled and trussed bird onto the veggies in the roasting pan, cover and place in the preheated oven on the second from the bottom level.

Cooking:

  • Turkey:
    • Roast the 10 lbs turkey for 2 -2 1/2 hours or until the meat probe thermometer reaches 165F.
      • If you want extra crispy or darker skin remove the lid of the roasting pan 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
    • Remove and let the turkey rest about 30 minutes.  This will allow all the juices inside the meat of the turkey to settle down.  If you cut into the turkey (or any piece of roasted meat) right after it has come out of the oven all of the juices in the meat will run out leaving it dry.
  • Flourless gravy:
    • While the turkey is resting, remove and discard the rosemary stems, pour all of the drippings and the roasted veggies into a high-speed blender and blend on high until the mixture is smooth.  (Add a little water, or even better, chicken or turkey stock if it is very thick.)
    • Pour the contents of the blender into a medium to large saucepot to warm it up a bit.
      • NOTE: If you choose to make the poultry stock (recipe in another post) add the gravy mixture made with the pan drippings and roasted veggies from that recipe at this point; heat then pour into a gravy or other serving bowl.
    • The turkey and gravy are ready to slice, and serve!

Enjoy!

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Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Roast Pasture-Raised Grove Ladder Farm Turkey

  1. Can’t wait to try this flourless gravy using the delicious veggies! Great idea! Thank you. Also, I can’t wait to find out if we can also get a turkey from the local grove ladder farm.
    Peace and Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    1. Hi Kelly,

      Thank you for visiting Worden Farm To Table and for your comment. We think you will love the flourless gravy. Grove Ladder Farm is taking orders now on their website for fresh turkey. They also have frozen turkeys at the downtown Sarasota Farmer’s Market every Saturday, and every Wednesday at the Phillipi (Creek) Farmhouse Market. Peace and Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

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