There are so many different ways to cook a turkey. Stuffed or not stuffed. Brine or no brine. Roasted. Fried. You name it.
I always get my bird and stuffing at the local turkey farm. I love their stuffing. Honestly, it is amazing and I have yet to replicate it or even come close.
Now for the stuffing debate. Do you call it stuffing or dressing? Some say if it is prepared inside the bird, it is stuffing and if it is prepared outside the bird, it’s called dressing. But apparently it is a regional term.We New Englanders typically call it stuffing, regardless of whether it is stuffed inside or prepared outside the bird. But Southerners call it dressing because “stuffing” doesn’t sound very appetizing.
Do you stuff your bird? I always do. That stuffing that crisps up during the cooking process while basting the bird never makes it to the table. That’s mine! I do always bake an extra dish. I need lots of stuffing for those “leftover” sandwiches. Which in my opinion are the best part of Thanksgiving. It has become part of our tradition that after everyone leaves and the kitchen is cleaned up. We put up the Christmas tree and then later that evening enjoy a “leftover” sandwich and some football or a Christmas special. That night it one of my favorites all year. Family and good food is always a winning combination.
Turkeys are not difficult to cook. With this technique (and a good meat thermometer), your bird will always come out with a beautifully browned, crispy skin and juicy tender meat. No fail!
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
The Perfect Roasted Turkey
1 20-22 lb. fresh whole turkey, giblets and neck removed from cavity (reserve for gravy if desired)
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. dry white wine
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1. Rinse turkey with cool water, and dry with paper towels. Let stand for 2 hours at room temperature.
2. Place rack on lowest level in oven. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine melted butter, white wine, garlic powder, paprika, parsley, and 1 tsp. each salt and pepper in a bowl.
3. Place turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack in a heavy metal roasting pan. Remove the pop-up timer if it has one. If using a digital meat thermometer, insert into the thickest part of the thigh. Do not poke into a bone and set the temperature to 180F (stuffing should be between 140 degrees and 160 degrees).
4. Fold wing tips under turkey. Sprinkle 1 tsp. each salt and pepper inside turkey. Fill large cavity and neck cavity loosely with as much stuffing as they hold without packing too tightly. Tie legs together loosely with kitchen string. Fold neck flap under, and secure with toothpicks. Gently lift the skin (you don’t want it to tear) and rub the butter under the skin and using a pastry brush, baste with the wine/butter/herb mixture.
4. Place turkey, legs first, in oven. Cook for 30 minutes. Using a pastry brush, baste turkey with butter and wine. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to cook for 2 1/2 more hours, basting every 20-30 minutes. Watch the pan juices and if it gets too full, spoon out and reserve for gravy.
5. Turn roasting pan so that the breast is facing the back of the oven. Baste turkey with pan juices. If there are not enough juices, continue to use butter and wine. The skin gets fragile as it browns, so baste carefully. Cook 1 more hour, continuing to baste.
6. After this fourth hour of cooking. You can use an instant-read thermometer in and the turkey should be golden brown. The breast does not need to be checked for temperature. If legs are not yet fully cooked, baste turkey, return to oven, and cook another 20 to 30 minutes.
7. When fully cooked, let rest for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the gravy. Pour all the pan juices into a glass measuring cup. Let stand until grease rises to the surface, about 10 minutes, then skim it off. Meanwhile, place roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup dry red or white wine, or water, to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the pan until liquid boils and all the crisp bits are unstuck from pan. Add giblet stock to pan. Stir well, and bring back to a boil. Cook until liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add the defatted pan juices, and cook over medium-high heat 10 minutes more. You will have about 2 1/2 cups of gravy. Season to taste, strain into a warm gravy boat, and serve with turkey.