There are two secrets to a succulent roast turkey: The first is not to overcook the turkey, and the second is to buy a fresh, free-range bird that has not been frozen. I remember the first Thanksgiving my mom spent with me that I was allowed to cook the turkey. She couldn't believe what a wonderful flavor it had and how moist it was, not to mention that I didn't get up in the middle of the night to put it in the oven. From that day forward, cooking the turkey has always been my job. Prep: 35 minutes; Bake: 2 hours 30 minutes; Stand: 30 minutes.
1 (12- to 14-pound) whole fresh turkey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 to 12 fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 Granny Smith apple, cored, seeded, and quartered
Preheat oven to 400º. Remove giblets from both cavities of turkey, and rinse inside and out. Loosen skin of turkey breasts, and place 2 tablespoons butter and 4 to 6 sage leaves under skin of each breast. Season turkey inside cavity and all over outside with herbes de Provence, sea salt, and pepper. Place onion, apple, celery, and remaining sage leaves in cavity of turkey and on bottom of heavy-duty roasting pan as a rack for turkey. Pour wine and apple juice in pan. Place turkey in pan.
Cover breast with foil, leaving legs exposed. Roast at 400º for 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove foil. Roast 1 hour more, basting every 20 minutes with pan drippings, until juices run clear when a small knife is inserted into thickest part of thigh or an instant-read thermometer registers 165º when inserted into thickest part of thigh.
Remove turkey from oven; baste again. Allow to rest 30 to 45 minutes before carving. Turkey will continue to cook another 5 to 10 degrees. Serve with Turkey Gravy, if desired.
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