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Roast Turkey with Arugula-Pesto Rub

  • Servings: 30 ounces each

Arugula blended with a basil pesto gets tucked under the skin of the turkey breast for an infusion of flavor. Oven bags are a cook's best friend when it comes to cooking the holiday turkey. Tucked into the bag, the turkey cooks juicy, tender, and fast. No need to baste. Just check the thermometer near the end of the cooking time. Cut open the top of the bag and lift out the turkey. After serving and cooling, gather up the oven bag and lift it out of the pan. Cleanup is easy with no scrubbing required.

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  • 1 12- to 14-pound turkey
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh arugula leaves
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon grated Romano cheese or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Flour
  • Disposable oven bag (turkey size)


Step 1

Preheat oven to 325°F. Remove neck and giblets from turkey; discard. Rinse body cavity of turkey; pat dry with paper towels.

Step 2

To prepare rub, in a blender or food processor combine arugula, basil, cheese, walnuts, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover and blend or process with several on/off turns until a paste forms, stopping several times to scrape the side of the blender or food processor.

Step 3

To apply rub, slip your fingers between the skin and meat on the breast of the turkey to loosen skin. Lift skin and spread the rub under the skin from front to back of the turkey. If desired, rub any remaining mixture on the outside skin of the turkey or rub with vegetable oil. Skewer neck skin to back. Tie drumsticks together or to the tail with clean 100-percent-cotton kitchen string. Twist wing tips under back. Place disposable oven bag in a roasting pan according to package directions, shaking at least a tablespoon of flour in the bag. Cut six 1/2-inch slits in top of bag. Place turkey, breast side up, in oven bag; close bag. Insert an oven-going meat thermometer into the center of an inside thigh muscle. Thermometer should not touch bone.

Step 4

Roast turkey for 3 to 4 hours or until the meat thermometer registers 180°F and turkey is no longer pink (the juices should run clear and drumsticks should move easily in their sockets). Remove turkey from oven; let stand for 15 to 20 minutes. Cut open top of disposable oven bag; remove turkey to cutting board. Carve turkey. Makes 30 servings.

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