There's a lot going on in the kitchen on Thanksgiving, so when it comes to cooking the turkey, take a low-maintenance approach. The technique here is fairly hands-off. The instructions are for a 14-pound turkey, which serves 12 to 14 people, but they can be used for larger or smaller birds; just adjust the roasting time accordingly.
Heat the oven to 325°F. Remove the neck, giblets, and tail (save these for the broth recipe) from the turkey, as well as any plastic parts, like leg connectors or pop-up timers. Rinse the turkey well inside and out and pat it dry thoroughly with paper towels. Truss the turkey, if you like. Rub the turkey all over with olive oil or melted clarified butter; this helps the turkey brown evenly. (You can also use melted whole butter, but the milk solids might make the turkey a little spotted.) Sprinkle the turkey with salt to help crisp the skin.
Put the turkey, breast side down, on a V-shaped rack in a roasting pan, preferably a heavy-duty flameproof pan so that you can make the gravy in it later. Roast the turkey (with the legs pointing to the back of the oven if possible) for 1 hour.
With wads of paper towels in both hands, lift the turkey at the neck and tail ends and flip it breast side up. Continue roasting until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thighs reads 170°F, another 2 to 2-1/2 hours. While the turkey roasts, baste it every 30 minutes or so with oil, butter, or pan drippings and rotate the pan occasionally for even browning. Transfer the turkey to a carving board or platter, tent it loosely with foil, and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes while you make the gravy. Remove the trussing strings before carving.
Don’t forget the sides and dessert. Serve the turkey with Apple & Bacon Stuffing, Green Beans with Toasted Almonds, and Rustic Mashed Potatoes. Pie’s not your thing? Finish the meal with Pumpkin Sage Bundt Cake.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on 14 servings without skin;
sat fat g
Photo: Scott Phillips