Convection Roast Tips - Thanksgiving Turkey
Tips for Roasting a Turkey in your Convection Oven
Using the Convection Roast or Convection Bake mode in your oven makes roasting a turkey easy and, because foods cooked in Convection retain a lot of moisture, the turkey will be incredibly succulent and juicy. Other benefits of roasting a turkey in Convection include:
No turning or basting is necessary.
Because the turkey is roasted on a rack all the juices stay in the bird, poaching the meat to perfection. After resting the juices are drained out of the turkey for gravy making.
Roasting time will be much shorter, use the oven Temperature Probe to avoid overcooking the turkey or follow the estimated timing listed below.
Once the turkey is resting, all the oven side dishes can be cooked at the same time so that all the food will be ready to serve when the turkey has rested and been carved
Seasoning the Turkey
Remove the turkey from the wrapping a few days in advance and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Remove the neck and giblet packets from the turkey cavities and dry the turkey inside and out with paper towels.
Give the turkey a dry rub of kosher salt mixed with your preferred seasoning, a few days in advance and leave in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
When cooking in Convection a wet brine is not necessary as the circulating Convection heat does not have a drying effect during the roasting process.
Aromatics such as onion, lemon bay leaves or other seasoning can be placed in the cavity prior to cooking for added flavor.
Cooking the Turkey
Let the turkey sit in a cool place outside of the refrigerator for a few hours prior to cooking. If it is too cold it will cook unevenly.
Preheat the oven in the Convection Roast or Convection Bake to 400 degrees.
Set the seasoned turkey on a rack in a shallow pan and place a metal skewer between the legs to balance the turkey or tie the legs loosely together. It’s important to know that your turkey will cook faster in Convection and tying the legs too close to the body keeps that part very cold and therefore it may cook unevenly.
Placing the turkey on a rack ensures all the juices stay in the turkey during the cooking and allows the heat to circulate evenly around the bird. There will be some drippings but for more drippings you can add some vegetables to the base of the pan and add a cup or two of water once the pan is in the oven.
Give the turkey a light spritz with some spray oil or rub with some vegetable oil and if your oven has a Meat Probe insert it into the thickest part of the breast, horizontally, making sure not to touch any bone.
Slide the tray into the oven and insert the temperature probe into the oven receptacle. For food safety the internal temperature must reach 165 degrees in the thickest part of the breast and thigh. While the turkey is resting the internal temperature will continue to rise and reach the perfect carving temperature of 180 - 185 degrees in 20 - 30 minutes.
Set the timer and cook the turkey for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees for the remainder of the cooking time. The oven will turn off when the internal temperature of 165 degrees has been reached. If your oven does not have a meat probe, use the following chart as a guide.
Estimated Cooking Times
For small turkeys up to 15lbs allow - 1 ½ - 2 hours cooking time.
For turkeys up to 20lbs allow - 2 - 2 ½ hours cooking time.
For turkeys over 20lbs allow 3 - 3 ½ hours cooking time.
Resting, Carving and Gravy Making
When the turkey comes out of the oven set it aside to rest for 30 minutes, then carefully pick it up with 2 kitchen towels and drain the juices from the cavity into the roasting pan and set the turkey aside on a rimmed carving board.
When carving the turkey you may notice the area around the bones will be red. Please do not be alarmed, this is a characteristic of Convection cooking. As long as the meat is cooked you are perfectly safe.
Discard any vegetables you added to the roasting pan, combine all the pan juices and skim off the fat, you are now ready to make your gravy and begin carving the turkey.
To make sure you have enough stock to make gravy we recommend preparing a giblet stock to mix with the pan juices and juices that will come out of the turkey after resting. Additional stock can also be made in advance with turkey legs or wings.
Most 30” and 36” ovens can accommodate two large casserole pans side-by-side as well as extra large rimmed baking sheets. Make good use of all that space to cook as many oven side dishes as you can while the turkey is resting and being carved (approx 50 minutes).
Using Convection will help you cook an amazing turkey and having all the side dishes ready and hot to serve at the same time really takes the stress out of preparing a huge feast. I wish you every success.
Cauliflower Mc & Cheese
Convection Bake Mode
This delicious version of perhaps the most popular comfort food incorporates some steamed cauliflower but you could also substitute broccoli if you prefer.
3 - cups elbow pasta
2 - cups, small cauliflower or broccoli florets
3 - tablespoons butter
3 - tablespoons all purpose flour
2 - cups milk
1 - teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1 - cup grated Jack cheese
2 - cups grated Cheddar cheese
¼ - cup fine breadcrumbs mixed with
¼ - cup grated Parmesan cheese and
2 - tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Cook the pasta in 8 cups of water with ½ teaspoon of salt, drain and rinse in cold water.
Steam the cauliflower and when cooked combine with the pasta.
Heat the butter in a small heavy saucepan, add the flour and stir to blend.
Cook for a few minutes taking care not to let the butter get too dark.
Whisk in the milk and cook over moderate heat until thickened.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese whisking until it is all blended, taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Preheat the oven to Convection Bake 350 degrees (using Convection ensures even heat distribution and enables you to roast some meat or vegetables on another rack at the same time)
Mix the cheese sauce with the cooked pasta and cauliflower and pour into an oiled oven casserole dish (approx 9 x 13) cover and bake on the center rack for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the foil and sprinkle the breadcrumb, parsley, Parmesan cheese mixture over the pasta and cook for another 10 minutes until the topping has browned.
Turkey Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles, Mozzarella and Pesto
Convection or Convection Bake
I won’t kid you, Lasagna always takes work but the efforts are always worthwhile and in this version the zucchini “noodles” are easily prepared at the same time using Convection.
It takes about 10 minutes to slice the zucchini and about 20 minutes to cook and cool them.
The turkey filling takes about 40 minutes to prep and cook and while that is cooking you can assemble the other ingredients so you are ready to layer everything into the casserole for baking. Once everything is prepped, layering the lasagna into the casserole is easy.
6 - large zucchini, ends trimmed each cut lengthwise into 6 ¼” thick slices
½ - teaspoon mixed Italian seasoning
2 - tablespoons olive oil
1 - tablespoon olive oil + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 - lb ground dark turkey meat (or ground beef if you prefer)
1 - medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1” dice
3 - cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Dash of ground chili flakes if you like some spice
1 - 15oz can whole peeled tomatoes
2 - tablespoons tomato paste
1 - 15oz container Ricotta cheese
1 - 4 oz container Pesto (or ½ cup homemade)
1 ½ - lbs shredded Mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to Convection or Convection Bake 400 degrees
Lay the zucchini slices onto 2 rimmed baking sheets, sprinkle with the seasoning and drizzle with some olive oil, salt and pepper and cook for 15 - 20 minutes until softened, then set aside to cool.
Meanwhile heat a large heavy skillet or saute pan over moderate heat, when hot add the oil and butter and when the butter sizzles increase the heat and add the ground turkey. Break it up with a fork and cook over medium high heat until evenly browned. Turn off the heat and remove the turkey from the pan with a slotted spoon.
Return the pan to heat and over moderate heat saute the onion until softened, add the garlic and cook for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes. Cook over moderate heat breaking the tomatoes with the back of a spoon (you can use chopped tomatoes if you prefer) then stir in the tomato paste. Add the browned turkey and any accumulated juices to the pan and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Layering the Lasagna
Spoon a little of the sauce onto the bottom of an oven casserole dish and add one layer of the cooked zucchini noodles.
Add half of the turkey mixture, spread over the noodles and top with a cup of mozzarella cheese
Add another layer of noodles and spread the ricotta over the noodles, or flatten a few tablespoons between your palms and place over the noodles.
Gently spread a layer of pesto over the ricotta and top with another loosely packed cup of mozzarella and another layer of noodles
Add the remainder of the turkey, another cup of cheese and the final layer of noodles.
Spread a little more pesto over the top of the noodles and top with a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.
Preheat the oven to Convection Bake 325 degrees
Cut a sheet of foil to fit the casserole and lightly oil the non-shiny side.
Cover the casserole loosely so the foil doesn’t stick to the cheese and bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling, allow the casserole to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6 - 8
Shepherd’s Pie with Seitan
Another dish on the list of popular comfort foods, this version from Susanne Jensen will show you just how delicious a plant based version of this dish can be. If you don’t have a big group to feed you can easily portion this casserole into smaller portions and freeze some for later use.
2 - tablespoons oil
1 - yellow onion, diced
3 - cloves garlic, minced
1 - teaspoon thyme
2 - carrots, finely diced
1 - rutabaga, finely dice
1 - pound seitan, ground in a food processor or meat grinder
2 - tablespoons tomato paste
1 - tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ - teaspoons salt ¼ t- easpoon pepper
2 - cups water mixed with 2 tablespoons vegetable powder
1 - tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2-3 tablespoons cold - water ½ - cup fresh or frozen peas
3 - large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
1. Heat oil in a frying pan and add onion and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add rutabaga and carrot and sauté for another 3-4 minutes.
3. Add thyme, seitan, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, water with vegetable powder and cook for 6-8 minutes.
4. Add dissolved cornstarch and cook until vegetable seitan mixture has slightly thickened, approximately 1 minute.
5. Stir in peas.
6. Meanwhile steam the potatoes in 1 cup of water over moderate heat until very tender. Mash with some butter and milk until creamy.
7. Assemble shepherd’s pie by adding vegetables to a baking pan and cover with mashed potatoes.
8. When ready to serve, preheat the oven in the Convection Bake Mode 400 degrees and bake uncovered for 20 minutes until the potatoes begin to brown (40 minutes if the casserole has been refrigerated.)
Serves 6 - 8
Roast Leg of Lamb with Roasted Ratatouille
Ratatouille is a flavorful vegetable stew from Southern France that combines a bounty of summer vegetables, eggplant, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes. Typically it is cooked in a heavy casserole on the cooktop but the vegetables can also be combined and roasted in the oven for an easy Convection Meal. Ratatouille combines well with roast chicken, oven baked polenta and our favorite roast lamb and can even be served over pasta or grains.
To coordinate the cooking plan on the following timing.
Lamb - 1 hr 25 minutes including 10 - 15 minutes for resting and carving.
Ratatouille - 40 - 50 minutes
Roast Leg of Lamb
1 semi boneless leg of lamb, approx 4 - 5lbs
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp, finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil
Begin by seasoning the lamb and letting it sit overnight in the refrigerator. First give the lamb a generous sprinkle of Kosher salt, then combine the rosemary, garlic and oil and rub it all over the meat. Cover loosely with a sheet of wax paper and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. And be sure to let it sit outside of the refrigerator for at least an hour prior to cooking.
Organize the oven racks to accommodate the roast and the tray of ratatouille underneath.
Heat the oven in the Convection Roast or Convection Bake Mode 325 ℉.
Place the lamb on a rack in a shallow pan. And if your oven has a meat probe insert the sensor into the meat on the diagonal, taking care not to touch any bone.
Slide the lamb into the oven and activate the meat probe function then program to the desired internal temperature. Remember the internal temperature will rise as the meat rests so if you like your lamb medium rare, select an internal temperature of 125 - 130 degrees.
When the lamb has cooked for at least 45 - 50 minutes, slide the tray with the ratatouille into the oven.
3 shallots, peeled and cut in half
10 cloves garlic, peeled
2 small Italian eggplant or 1 Italian and 1 Fairy Tale eggplant, cut into 1 ½” chunks
3 large zucchini, cut into 1 ½” chunks
2 large peppers, yellow and orange are nice for the color, peeled, seeds removed, cut into
1 ½” pieces ( a Y shaped vegetable peeler does a good job of removing the peel)
¼ cup olive oil
1 level tsp herbs de Provence
4 medium roma tomatoes, cut into quarters (these are added later)
Combine the shallots, garlic, eggplant, zucchini and peppers in a large shallow mixing bowl.
Season with a sprinkle of Kosher salt and the herbs, add enough of the olive oil to coat the vegetables evenly then spread onto a rimmed baking sheet. The vegetables will shrink a fair bit during the cooking so it’s best if they are fairly crowded on the tray.
When the lamb has cooked for 45 - 50 minutes, add the tray of ratatouille into the lower part of the oven. Remove the lamb when the meat probe indicates it has reached the desired internal temperature and set aside to rest. Carefully combine the tomatoes with the other ratatouille vegetables and reprogram the oven to finish cooking the vegetables in the Convection Roast or Convection Bake Mode,400℉ and set the timer for 25 minutes.