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6 ways to prepare Thanksgiving turkey

Traditional and basic Thanksgiving recipes are making a comeback this year. Matthew Mead/AP

The same Thanksgiving meal each year with turkey, sweet potato casserole, and cranberry relish can be comforting. But mixing up the routine in the kitchen can keep the traditional meal feeling inspired. We aren't talking about turduckens (a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken) or deep-frying a turkey in a vat of peanut oil. We lean toward simpler approaches.

Whether you prefer a traditional turkey rubbed with seasoning and spices and oven-roasted, or soaked in a brine to maximize a juicy meat, or set over the grill for a few hours, here a a few ideas to try out in your holiday kitchen.

1. Traditional roasted turkey

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    Traditional turkey recipes are popular this year like this oven roasted turkey with a butter and fresh herb rub.
    Courtesy of Maria's Homemade, Westside Market NYC
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By Maria Zoitas, creator of “Maria’s Homemade” line of prepared food at Westside Market NYC

Yield: 6 – 8 servings

1 16-lb. raw, whole turkey
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 stalk celery, diced into 1/2 pieces
1 whole white onion, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large carrot peeled and cut into 1/4-inch coins
2 whole Granny Smith apples, left whole
2 cups of water
1 cup of white wine [editor's note: substitute cooking wine or broth]

1. Preheat oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.

2. Combine butter, fresh chopped sage, thyme, rosemary, and garlic. Add paprika, salt, and black pepper.

3. Rub turkey breast in between skin and meat with butter mixture.

4. Fill the cavity of turkey with onions, celery, carrots and the two whole apples. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Place the seasoned turkey into a roasting pan on a wire rack, and add 2 cups of water and 1 cup of white wine into bottom of the pan.

6. Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and bake for about 2-1/2 hours.

7. Uncover turkey after 2-1/2 hours put back in the oven for additional 1-1/2 hours.

8. Once the turkey is done cooking, all cavity items (onions, celery, carrots and apples) should be removed and discarded.Use the pan drips to make gravy.

Alternative turkey rub mixture

Combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon each of sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

Stir in 1 tablespoon each of rosemary, sage, thyme, and marjoram, blending well.

Take 1 tablespoon of this aromatic mixture and rub onto the outside of the turkey.

Put the remaining seasonings inside, patting the cavity throughout.

Maria says: "Feel free to get creative with your choice of seasonings and proportions. Try a rub that includes chopped parsley, onion powder, or whatever makes your mouth water."

Read the full post on Stir It Up!

Recommended:  Thanksgiving recipes: 20 ideas

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