Roast turkey has been a favorite of the Thanksgiving table in America since the 17th century. But this recipe should be used much more often, as it produces a delicious meal enjoyed by all.
- 12 pounds turkey (to 14 pounds)
- salt, to taste
- freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- Basic Bread Stuffing; (see Recipe) (or use stuffing of choice)
- melted butter
- Completely thaw the turkey. Remove giblet bag and neck from turkey. Check both cavities for extra parts. Rinse turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry. Sprinkle turkey inside and out with salt and pepper.
- Loosely pack stuffing into neck and body cavities. Do not overstuff. Stuffing expands during cooking. Allow 1/2 to 3/4 Cup stuffing per pound of turkey. Skewer neck skin to back of bird to hold stuffing in place. Truss drumsticks with clamp or skin band, or tie with kitchen twine, and tuck wings under bird.
- Place turkey, breast-side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Brush with melted butter. Roast uncovered at 325 degrees, basting with melted butter every 30 to 45 minutes.
- If bird is browning too fast, tent loosely with foil or cover breast with butter-soaked cheesecloth. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh reaches 170 degrees. When turkey is done, remove from oven and let turkey rest at room temperature 20 minutes; retained heat should push temperature to 180 degrees.
- To roast turkey unstuffed, season bird with salt and pepper to taste inside and out. If desired, insert pieces of celery, carrots and onions to improve flavor. Fold neck skin to back and fasten with skewer. Fasten legs by tying or tucking under clamp or skin band.
We enjoy making this recipe with the stuffing under the skin of the bird rather than in the cavity.