James Peterson in his handy Essentials of Cooking makes roasting turkey so simple you will want to roast a big bird any time of year. He doesn't recommend using a roasting rack and rests the turkey on coarsely chopped vegetables and the halved turkey tail, which roast and create the pan juices for a flavorful gravy.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes
Yield: Serves 10 to 15
- 1 15-to-20 pound turkey
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups coarsely chopped carrots, onions and celery
- 1 cup water or turkey stock or home-made chicken stock
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
- Rinse a a properly thawed turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove the giblets and neck and set aside for gravy. Use the liver for stuffing or discard. Tuck the turkey wing tips under the turkey body, and tie the drumsticks together. Do not truss.
- Cut the turkey tail in half and put in the bottom of a roasting pan. Scatter the chopped vegetables along the bottom of the pan, then rest the turkey on top. Heavily butter a tripled-folded sheet of aluminum foil, and lay it over the top of the turkey.
- Roast the turkey for 1 hour, then remove the foil. Check to see how well the turkey is browning. If the skin is browning too much, turn the oven down; if it's browning too little, turn up the oven. Continue roasting until an instant-read (digital) thermometer inserted between the thigh and breast reads 145°F. For unstuffed turkeys, 8 minutes per pound for larger turkeys and 10 minutes per pound for smaller turkeys. For stuffed turkeys, roast 10 to 12 minutes.
- Remove the turkey from the oven, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Degrease the drippings, then put the pan over a stove top and add 1 cup of water or stock. Allow to boil and reduce, and serve with the carved turkey or add to traditional brown turkey gravy or giblet gravy.