Here is my mom's recipe for roasted turkey. It's tender, flavorful and juicy. She uses a roasting bag. Have you ever tried using a roasting bag? The bags lock in the moisture, preventing the turkey from drying out. As an added bonus, you won't be scrubbing the roasting pan afterwards either. I also need to add that this turkey isn't stuffed. My fam has always made and baked the stuffing outside the turkey and I much prefer it this way, but if you do decide to stuff your turkey you need to add another 30 minutes to the baking times I've provided below. Enjoy!
1 fresh or frozen turkey 14-20lb (if frozen, make sure it's thawed properly according to package instructions)
2 fresh poultry bouquets, these are easily found at your grocery store this time of year, if not, buy a combination of fresh rosemary, sage and thyme
1 medium to large bunch of celery
2 medium to large yellow onions
softened butter for spreading over turkey (make sure to use salted butter)
side note: If you're turkey is bigger than 20lbs, use 3 onions, a large head of celery and more butter.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove giblets and neck from the large and small cavities in the turkey. They are usually packaged in a plastic bag, but make sure you search around a little so you don't miss anything. You can discard these, or save the neck to later boil with some herbs, onion and celery to make a flavorful stock. Rinse turkey and pat dry. Set turkey aside on some paper towels.
Separate celery into stalks and rinse away any dirt. Reserve 4-5 stalks and roughly chop the remaining stalks into big pieces. Set aside. Slice onion into 1/4 inch disks. Set aside.
Take your roasting bag, open it and lay it in the roasting pan with the opening of the bag facing one of the handles of your roasting pan.
Place 4-5 celery stalks in the bag (you will be placing the turkey on top of these). Take turkey and slide it carefully into roasting bag, resting on top of celery stalks. Spread softened butter thoroughly over turkey-- roughly 3-4 tablespoons. Take a few of your onion slices, some celery pieces, and part of your poultry bouquet and place these inside the large cavity of the turkey. Scatter the rest of your onion, celery and fresh herbs on top and around the turkey.
Seal bag with a knot or twist tie. Using a knife, make a 2 in slit at the top of the bag (by the breast).
Place in oven. If your turkey has a pop up thermometer make sure it is facing out so it's visible through oven window. Bake at 350 degrees for 2-2 1/2 hours for a 12-16lb turkey, 2 1/2 to 3 hours for a 16-20lb turkey and 3 to 3 1/2 hours for a 20-24lb turkey or until a meat thermometer reads 180 degrees F.
For easy slicing, let turkey sit in oven bag for 15 minutes before opening. Here is a great tutorial on how to carve turkey. Discard onion, celery, and herb pieces as they have already served their purpose. BUT! Don't discard any of the drippings!
Reserve all the juices/drippings leftover in roasting bag. Take a sieve and place it over a bowl. Pour juices through sieve to catch herb bits and undesirable pieces. Cover and set aside or refrigerate depending on when you will be preparing your gravy.
image by Kara
Tomorrow I will show you how to make gravy with the drippings!