This recipe is for a 10 to 14 pound turkey. I will update for larger turkeys later. (I rushed this recipe out after roasting a turkey in the wee hours of the morning, so everyone could get a head start on planning for their turkey dinner. I'll correct any mistakes I may have made after the weekend.)
Now that the turkey is ready to go, preheat your oven to 400°F. Chop up two medium onions, five carrots, and two celery ribs. Also melt 3 tablespoons butter and set aside 2 tablespoons dried thyme (or two sprigs of fresh thyme). Quantity and even chopping is not that important for this recipe, so feel free to prepare these steps quickly to save time.
From the chopped vegetables, take about half an onion, a carrot, and a half celery rib and combine them with about 1 tsp. thyme and a tablespoon of melted butter. Mix them until evenly distributed.
Throw the prepared vegetables (from the previous step) inside the turkey. Now, tie up the turkey's wings and legs so they will cook evenly. Take a 5 foot (1.5 m) long piece of kitchen twine and tie the drumsticks together as shown.
Loop the twine around the turkey and over the wings.
At the head of the turkey, tie a knot over the flap of skin to hold everything in place.
Place the rest of vegetables and thyme in a roasting pan. If you don't have a roasting pan, you can use a disposable aluminum foil roasting pan from the supermarket. Pour one cup water into the pan and place a V Rack into the pan. Brush breast side of the turkey with butter. Place the turkey on the V rack with the breast side facing down. Brush the back with butter. Place in a 400°F oven.
We're roasting this turkey upside down (usually turkeys are roasted breast up) to cook the breasts at a slower rate. Starting breast side down, gives the legs a head start on cooking. This is desirable because drumsticks and thighs need to be cooked to a higher temperature (about 170°F) in order to remove any trace of pink flesh. The breasts would become very dry and unpalatable if cooked to temperatures as high as the legs.
After 45 minutes, remove the turkey from the oven and baste it with the juices from the roasting pan. I've tried to come up with an easy way to do this without a turkey baster, but I was unable to. Use a turkey baster to reach in between the rungs of the rack and suck up some juices and squirt it over the turkey. Then rotate the turkey onto its side (with a leg sticking up) and brush some more butter on. Return to oven for fifteen more minutes, then baste again and rotate onto other side. Roast for fifteen minutes. Roasting the turkey on its sides lets the sides brown (for better presentation). If you don't care about even browning, you can skip these two rotations and just prolong the breast down roasting by thirty minutes. (You may want to baste once after the 45 minute mark, though.)
Now, rotate the turkey so it is breast side up. Baste again and brush on the remaining butter. Roast for thirty more minutes and then start to check the temperature every ten minutes. The turkey is done when an instant read thermometer thrust into the breast reads 165°F.
The deepest part of the thigh should read between 170°F to 175°F. Remember that the only way to know if your turkey is both safe to eat and not overcooked is with an accurate digital thermometer.
Remove the turkey and allow it to rest for twenty or thirty minutes.}?>
Carving (a quick synopsis)
Place the turkey breast side up on a carving board.
Cut the skin between the thigh and the body of the turkey. Cut in while using a fork to peel the leg away from the body.
Cut through the joint to remove the thigh and drumstick. Place the leg flat on a cutting board. Separate the thigh from the drumstick by cutting through the joint. Cut the meat off the sides of the thigh bone. Cut the meat off the drumstick. Repeat for the other leg.
Remove the wings by pulling them away from the body and thrusting a knife through the joint to sever. Once all the limbs have been removed, cut through the skin along the keel bone.
Angle the blade out a little and cut down along the bone to remove the breast. Do the same to the other side.
Cut the breast meat against the grain into thin slices.
Arrange however you like and serve with those accompaniments that are traditional to your family. (For a nice gravy that goes with this turkey, see Test Recipes: Giblet Pan Gravy.)}?>
Classic Roast Turkey (serves 14)
|Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C)|
|12 lb. turkey, thawed or fresh||brine||stuff||brush on both sides||place on V-rack in pan||roast until breast 165°F (74°C), thigh 170°F (77°C)|
|1/2 onion, chopped||mix|
|1 carrot, chopped|
|1/2 celery rib, chopped|
|1 tsp. dried thyme|
|1 Tbs. butter, melted|
|1 Tbs. butter, melted|
|1-1/2 onion, chopped||place in roasting pan|
|4 carrots, chopped|
|1-1/2 celery rib, chopped|
|5 tsp. dried thyme|
|1 cup water|
|Position||breast down||leg up||other leg up||breast up|