The Perfect Turkey
My Turkey is as simple as it gets! It's un-stuffed, un-trussed, I don't baste or brine it and my cooking time is slightly less than most recipes because I let it rest longer. What you get when you roast a turkey this way is... WAY less stress and a perfectly roasted, moist turkey.
I always choose a fresh grain-fed turkey. I find the taste is superior to a frozen turkey and I don't have to stress about where and how long to thaw my turkey. The peace of mind is well worth the extra cost in my books!
The first thing I do is remove the neck and giblets from the body cavity. I put them off to one side in the bottom of the roasting pan with 2 bay leaves, 3 carrots, a red pepper (seeded) and an onion cut in half with the skin still on. Now add 1c of water and 1c white wine. These will all help add a ton of flavour and colour to your gravy.
Now Rinse your turkey really well with cold water and pat it dry with clean paper towel and place it in your roasting pan. You can choose to use a rack or not I find it works well either way. Stuff the neck cavity with a whole unpeeled onion and the body cavity with 2 whole unpeeled onions and an apple.
Sprinkle the turkey all over with a bit of salt and let it sit for about an hour or so to bring it to room temperature (70 degrees F) before roasting. This will help cut down on your cooking time.
Rub olive oil all over the skin of the turkey, this will help keep the meat moist and help the skin brown. You can use melted butter if you prefer. Now sprinkle generous amounts of both sage and garlic powder all over the turkey. Now add some fresh cracked black pepper. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and then massage all the seasonings in.
Now for my brilliant tip...Take 5 or 6 whole ribs of celery and lay them on-top of the turkey. Sometimes I have to crack them in half to get them to stay. Now cover the pan with aluminum foil, make sure it's well sealed as to not allow any moisture to escape. The celery will release moisture slowly as the turkey cooks basting it the entire time! Isn't that brilliant!!!!!!
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
I have always found it best to start roasting my turkey at a fairly high temperature for the first 60 minutes. Then I lower the heat to 350 degrees F. for the rest of the cooking time. Here are my approximate roasting times for an un-stuffed, un-trussed room temperature bird:
10 pounds- 2 to 2- 1/2 hours (feeds 8-10 people)
12 pounds- 2- 1/2 to 3 hours (feeds 10-12 people)
15 pounds- 3 hours (feeds 12-15 people)
17 pounds- 3- 1/2 hours (feeds 15-17 people)
20 pounds- 3-1/2 to 4 hours (feeds 17-20 people)
Halfway through the cooking time turn the pan in the oven to ensure it cooks evenly. The back of the oven is often hotter than the front.
Remove the foil ( keep the foil to use later) and the celery for the last 60 minutes of cooking and raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Now you can start basting the turkey if you'd like to, it will help it brown more evenly.
* Oven temperatures can vary dramatically so always check the temperature with a meat thermometer on the thickest part of the thigh (not touching the bone) it should register at 170 degrees F. If it is very slightly under, don't worry because it will continue to cook slightly as it's resting.
Once it's done, take it out of the oven and cover it with foil again. Let it rest for 60 minutes. This will allow the juices to re-absorb into the meat keeping it moist and juicy.
After your Turkey has rested, carve it and just watch the juice drip with every slice. Enjoy!
white wine (1 cup)
olive oil or butter
salt and pepper