Roast Turkey

The banana has nothing to do with the post. :)

I love turkey. A lot. And I love the leftovers - turkey pot pie, turkey and cranberry sandwiches, and of course this turkey casserole. Every year we get a free turkey from my husband's workplace for Christmas and I get so excited! Turkey is one of the easiest things in the world to make really once you have the right technique. I think the biggest key is to not let yourself get intimidated. I've tried lots of different ways to roast a turkey. Rub with butter, put butter under the skin, baste, rub with oil, etc. I now subscribe to the Alton Brown school of turkey roasting - start high and end low. I always get a nice juicy turkey with a lovely golden brown exterior that way. Alton also says to brine a turkey, which I have yet to do, but I would really like to try. You can find his whole recipe here. But this is what I have been doing and it turns out pretty darn good.

You need:
1 thawed turkey
Kosher salt (if you brine your bird, do not salt)
1 onion, quartered
1 red apple, quartered
Poultry seasoning
Canola oil

Not nesseccary but good if you don't have a roasting rack, like me:
5-6 large carrots (don't bother peeling)
4-5 stalks celery

Move oven rack down to the lowest setting. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Take out all the extras (neck and guts). Rinse the turkey in cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle cavity liberally with Kosher salt and poultry seasoning. Put the apple and onion into the cavity. Tuck the wings under the turkey so they don't burn (see picture if you don't know what I'm talking about). Rub turkey with oil and then sprinkle liberally with salt. Place on roasting rack and in pan. If you don't have a rack you can make your own by placing carrots and celery in the bottom of your roasting pan.
Place turkey in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Take out of oven and turn oven temp down to 350 degrees. Cover turkey breast with a double layer of aluminum foil folded into a triangle to prevent over-browning. Put a probe thermometer (oven safe obviously!) into the thickest part of the breast. When thermometer reads between 161-165 degrees take turkey out. A 14-16 pound bird will usually take around 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Cover turkey with a tent of aluminum foil and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.
The turkey drippings mixed with the flavor of the apple and onion (and carrots and celery if they made up your roasting rack) make a super delicious gravy, but that's another post.


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