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The day before, rub the skin of the bird with oil and sprinkle it inside and out with salt and pepper. Refrigerate it overnight without covering it (this helps crisp the skin). You’ll need a meat thermometer and a pan large enough to hold the bird with space around it. A rack is nice, but not essential. Set the bird on a bed of carrots and onions and roast according to the accompanying chart. Let the turkey sit at room temperature for 45 minutes before roasting, and for 30 minutes after roasting.

TURKEY

1whole turkey (10 to 25 pounds)
Salt and pepper, to taste
2onions, quartered
2lemons, quartered
2tablespoons vegetable oil, or more if needed
1bunch fresh rosemary, chopped
1bunch fresh thyme, chopped
1bunch fresh oregano, chopped
2carrots, quartered
2cups water

1. Set the oven at 325 degrees. Remove the giblets from both the neck and vent ends of the bird. Wipe the bird inside and out with paper towels but do not wash it. Sprinkle the inside with salt and pepper and tuck a handful of onion and lemon pieces into the cavity.

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2. Using your hands, rub the bird with oil and sprinkle it all over with salt, pepper, and half the herbs, pressing them into the skin. Set the remaining onions, lemons, and carrots in the roasting pan. Add the turkey, breast side up. With kitchen twine, tie the legs to the bird. Add water to the pan.

3. While the turkey roasts, baste it occasionally with the juices in the pan. Turn the roasting pan from back to front once during roasting. If your bird is on the small side, you can roast it breast side down for the first hour, then turn it breast-side up to finish cooking. Or roast it breast up the entire time, covering it loosely with a foil tent once it starts to brown. Roast (see turkey roasting times chart below) until a meat thermometer inserted into three places in the bird registers 165 degrees (see Page G4). If the turkey reaches the correct temperature sooner than you expected (this happens often), remove it from the oven and set it in a warm place. If it isn’t brown enough, turn the oven up to 400 degrees for the last 20 minutes.

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4. Lift the bird from the pan and transfer it to a cutting board. Let the turkey rest in a warm place for at least 30 minutes before carving.

GRAVY

Pan juices from roasting turkey
2cups boiling water
3cups chicken or turkey stock
½cup white or red wine, sherry, or port
2tablespoons cornstarch, potato starch, or arrowroot mixed with ¼ cup cold water, or more if needed
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Carefully set the roasting pan over 1 or 2 burners over medium heat. Scrape the bottom to dislodge sediment. Add the boiling water and chicken or turkey stock and cook, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Let the mixture simmer, skimming the surface often, for 5 minutes.

2. Set a strainer over a saucepan. Tip the mixture into the strainer and discard the vegetables. Skim any fat from the top of the liquid.

3. Add the wine, sherry, or port and return to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, skimming the surface often.

4. Stir the starch mixture until it is smooth. Pour the mixture into the gravy and cook, stirring, until it returns to a boil. Taste for seasoning; add more salt and pepper, if you like. If you prefer a thicker gravy, mix 2 teaspoons more starch with 2 tablespoons more cold water and whisk it into the gravy. Return to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes more. Pour the gravy into a gravy boat or bowl. Sheryl Julian