There are as many ways to roast a turkey as there are cooks (and turkeys). I’ve done it in many different ways and here’s one that works well for me.
I start with a fresh turkey, which means I don’t have to battle it in the kitchen sink.
I stuff mine, although I know NO ONE else does. Whether you cook your turkey unstuffed or stuffed, put a little something under the skin. It gives a lot of extra flavor and helps to keep the breast moist. You can use herb butter, plain butter or in a healthier vein, orange slices are a beautiful alternative.
I put STUFFING under the skin. That way, each breast piece – sliced crosswise – has a bit of bonus stuffing with it.
This is my stuffing recipe. It’s a good one.
After I’ve stuffed the turkey in various places and sewed and tied it up, I’m ready to go.
Roast Turkey (serves 15)
(Thank you Julia, Mom and Joy of Cooking)
16 to 20 pound turkey, stuffed and trussed
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
stock for the bottom of the pan
1 cup diced onions
1 cup diced carrots
12 Lady Apples
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Melt butter and olive oil together in small saucepan. Rub that all over the bird, on all sides. Season with salt and pepper. Place on rack in roasting pan and slide into the oven.
After 30 minutes, add a cup or two of stock to the pan. Add a little more stock every 40 minutes or so. You don’t even have to cover the entire bottom of the pan. You just don't want the bottom to burn.
1½ hours before the end of roasting time, add 1 cup of diced onions and 1 cup of diced carrots to the roasting pan under the rack. Place Lady Apples around turkey. (They can be on the rack.)
When the breast is nicely browned, cover it with foil. Baste or don’t baste, it doesn’t matter, just check every once in awhile that the bottom has some liquid in it. Add stock, if you need to.
Cook a 16 to 20 pound stuffed bird for approximately 5ish hours. Every part of the bird should register 165 degrees, including the stuffing.
Remove turkey from the oven. TURN IT UPSIDE DOWN. That is my super duper special secret tip. It’s not easy, but just devote 2 pot holders that you can wash fifty times to the task. Remove Lady Apples from pan and set aside. Strain all the vegetables, drippings and stock into a large measuring pitcher to use as the base for gravy.
Cover turkey well with foil and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Cut all the strings off and remove. Remove the stuffing from the 2 openings (not from under the skin). Slice off the legs. Cut off the breasts in one piece from each side of the turkey’s backbone. Slice them crosswise. Cover with foil until ready to serve. Garnish with Lady Apples.