Turkey may lack carbs, but if it's not properly tended it will also be woefully wanting in flavor and moisture. So season with plenty of pepper. Toss a few cloves of garlic and some sprigs of herbs in the cavity. Track the temperature carefully. And serve au jus (oh-ZHOO), a French term for meat served with its own natural juices.
For More Carbs: The more flavorful the pan drippings, the more flavorful the jus. So for 1-1/2 extra grams of carbs per serving, you may as well pour about 1/3 cup Madeira over the turkey during the last 30 minutes of cooking to crisp the bird and flavor the drippings.
In Advance: Place the raw turkey breast-side down in the refrigerator so the juices flow to the white meat; the resulting roast turkey breast will be slightly more moist than usual. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator to remove the chill about 30 minutes before roasting.
Servings: 10 - 14
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Plenty of freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 12 to 14 pounds turkey, neck and giblets removed
- 1/3 cup Madeira fortified wine (optional)
- Jus (see recipe)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position.
In a small bowl, mash together the butter, salt and plenty of pepper to taste.
Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold running water, drain it and pat it dry with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips under the body. Place on a rack in a roasting pan.
Using clean hands, loosen the skin over the breast by running your hands just under the skin. Reaching with your fingers as far as possible, carefully loosen the skin over the legs. Generously season the inside and underside of the turkey with salt and pepper. Using clean, dry hands, rub about 6 tablespoons of the butter mixture under the skin, pushing it with your fingers over the breast and legs. Rub the remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture over the outside of the turkey skin, spreading it evenly so the turkey will brown evenly.
Transfer the turkey to the preheated oven and roast for 30 minutes. The turkey should turn golden brown.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and loosely cover the turkey with a large piece of tented aluminum foil to keep the skin from getting too brown. Continue to roast the turkey. If desired, baste the turkey with the pan drippings every 30 minutes or so. If desired, during the last 30 minutes of roasting, remove the foil and pour over the Madeira.
Start checking for doneness after about 2 hours. The total cooking time should be about 2 to 2-1/2 hours for a 12- to---pound turkey. Remove the turkey from the oven when a meat thermometer inserted in the breast registers 165 degrees. (The internal temperature will continue to rise a few degrees after you remove it from the oven. According to the USDA, the turkey is done when the breast meat reaches 170 degrees.)
Transfer the turkey to a carving board and set aside to rest for at least 20 minutes prior to carving. Reserve the drippings in the roasting pan for the Jus (see recipe). Serve with the Jus on the side.
Tested by Renee Schettler.
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