There are blackened turkeys and smoked turkeys and turkeys rubbed with herbs and spices. But the turkey that appears on most Thanksgiving tables is a good old-fashioned basic roast turkey. Here's how it's done.
1 (12- to 14-pound) turkey, thawed
Basic Bread Stuffing or stuffing of choice
Remove giblet bag from turkey. Check both cavities for extra parts. Rinse turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry. Sprinkle turkey inside and out with salt and pepper.
Loosely pack stuffing into neck and body cavities. Do not overstuff. Stuffing expands during cooking. Allow 1/2 to 3/4 cup stuffing per pound of turkey. If recipe makes more stuffing than bird will hold, bake in lightly greased casserole at 325 degrees until heated through, 45 minutes to 1 hour.) Skewer neck skin to back of bird to hold stuffing in place. Truss drumsticks with clamp or skin band, or tie with kitchen twine, and tuck wings under bird.
Place turkey, breast-side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Brush with melted butter. Roast uncovered at 325 degrees, basting with melted butter every 1/2 to 3/4 hour. If bird is browning too fast, tent loosely with foil or cover breast with butter-soaked cheesecloth. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh reaches 170 degrees.
When turkey is done, remove from oven and let turkey rest at room temperature 20 minutes; retained heat will push temperature to 180 degrees.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.
Each of 10 servings, without stuffing, contains about:
553 calories; 706 mg sodium; 217 mg cholesterol; 31 grams fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 55 grams protein; 0.20 gram fiber.
Note: To roast turkey unstuffed, season bird with salt and pepper to taste inside and out. If desired, insert pieces of celery, carrots and onions to improve flavor. Fold neck skin to back and fasten with skewer. Fasten legs down by tying or tucking under clamp or skin band.
BASIC BREAD STUFFING
1/2 cup butter
1 large onion, diced
1 to 2 cups diced celery with leaves
12 cups toasted 1/2-inch bread cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dried sage or 1/4 cup minced fresh sage
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 cup turkey stock, water or milk
Melt butter in large stockpot. Add onion and celery and cook until vegetables are tender but not browned. Add to bread cubes in large bowl. Add salt, pepper, sage and parsley and toss until well mixed. Add turkey stock and blend well.
Bake any excess stuffing in lightly greased casserole at 325 degrees until heated through, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Enough to stuff a 12- to 14-pound turkey; about 10 to 12 servings. Each serving contains about: 126 calories; 469 mg sodium; 23 mg cholesterol; 9 grams fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 0.20 gram fiber.