Classic Roast Turkey
This classic roasting method takes more time than the high-heat roasting method. The meat may taste drier, and many people prefer it that way. Anyone hankering for a delicious old-fashioned turkey won't be disappointed.
When choosing your turkey, plan on 1 1/4 pounds per guest. In this recipe, we assume you are working with a 16-lb. turkey, serving 10 to 12 guests. If yours is bigger or smaller--adjust cooking times and ingredient amounts accordingly.
Gather two peeled carrots, two celery stalks, one small onion, 11 cups of stuffing, two cups of chicken broth or water, orange slices, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. Chop the vegetables into large chunks.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Rinse the turkey with cold water and blot it dry inside and out with a clean, lint-free towel.
Load the roasting pan with vegetables. Place the turkey on top of the vegetables, breast-side up.
When stuffing the turkey's neck cavity and body, be careful not to pack the breading in too tight. A turkey that's been "overstuffed" will cook unevenly.
Next, fold the wings and neck skin back and under the body to seal in the stuffing. Using butcher's twine, tie the legs together. Season the turkey liberally with salt and pepper.
Pour two cups of chicken broth or water into your roasting pan.
A bird of this size will probably need 3 3/4 to 4 1/2 in the oven. Baste once an hour, except for the final hour when you should baste every 15 minutes.
Use this roasting chart as a guide:
• 10- to 18-lbs.: 3 to 3 1/2 hours (unstuffed), 3 3/4 to 4 1/2 hours (stuffed)
• 18- to 22 -lbs.: 3 1/2 to 4 hours (unstuffed), 4 1/2 to 5 hours (stuffed)
• 22- to 24 -lbs.: 4 to 4 1/2 hours (unstuffed), 5 to 5 1/2 hours (stuffed)
• 24- to 30-lbs.: 4 1/2 to 5 hours (unstuffed), 5 1/2 to 6 1/4 (stuffed)
After the turkey is two-thirds of the way done, place a foil tent around it to protect its juices and flavor.
Insert the thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh. It should read 180 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh, 170 in the breast and 160 in the stuffing. The National Turkey Federation is an excellent source of information concerning internal temperatures and turkey cooking safety.
When the turkey has finished cooking, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest untouched for at least 10 minutes. Remove the stuffing.