I posted a link to this recipe before Thanksgiving but I finally have a picture to go with it. It seems that everytime we cook a turkey around here it gets gobbled up before I have a chance to grab the camera!
(these instructions are for a 12# to 15# turkey; if you need a bigger turkey cook two!)
The day before you cook your turkey: make a compound butter by mixing 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups of butter with ½ to 1 teaspoon each of dried sage, rosemary, and thyme, and 1 to 2 teaspoon of dried parsley flakes, and 1 to 2 small cloves of minced garlic. Refrigerate butter overnight.
When you are ready to cook your turkey gently slide your fingers under the skin as far back as you can go to separate the skin from the meat inside. Get down into the thighs and legs too if you can!
Give a shallow roasting pan a quick coating of non-stick cooking spray. Line the pan with thick slices of onions, stalks of celery (leaves too!), whole peeled garlic cloves, and carrots. You’re not going to eat these veggies so don’t worry about them; they are just there to flavor the broth.
Ok grab that turkey and bend the wing tips back down under the bird. Try to get them to hold that skin flap in place, you’ll get some nice flavor from that too. Sit your turkey on the “baking rack” you have made from the vegetables.
Now it gets really messy. Grab that compound butter in your hand and stuff it all around under the skin. Mash it around until you get it spread out as evenly as you can. Reserve about 1/3 of your butter and smear that all over the outside of the turkey skin as well as putting some inside the cavity. If you’ve got them toss a couple lemon halves inside the cavity.
Your oven should be set and heated to 400 by now.
First bake your turkey at 400 for ½ hour uncovered.
Second without opening the oven reduce heat to 350 and bake 1 hour more.
Now take the turkey out and cover it with aluminum foil. Put the covered turkey back in at 350 for 1 more hour.
After these first 2 ½ hours have passed reduce the oven temperature again; this time to 225 and cook for the remaining 1 ½ hours.
After the last 1 ½ hours of cook time test the temperature of your turkey. It should be 180 in the thickest meatiest part of the thigh or 165 in the thickest part of the breast. If not cover and return to oven. Check again in 20 minutes.
When your turkey is done let it sit covered for at least 15 minutes before carving.
Strain the stock and use it to make your gravy!