Golden Brown Roast Turkey
You could prepare this delicious 17-pound roast turkey within a few hours, and feed a crowd…the perfect choice for Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner, or other holiday meals.
A fresh, healthy turkey tastes better than others, so treat yourself to an organic, grain-fed, air-chilled turkey, if possible. The star of this recipe is the bird, so it’s lightly flavored with classic aromatics, such as onion, garlic, celery, and lemon. I opted for a simple turkey recipe, but feel free to use fresh herbs and spices.
Brushing melted butter on your turkey, and basting it regularly throughout the roasting process makes for a moist turkey, and creates a perfectly crisp and golden brown skin. A light olive oil would also work as a dairy-free alternative. Personally, I prefer to use butter for my turkey.
Wings, Stock, and Gravy
There’s more than enough meat on the breasts, thighs, legs, and back of the turkey, so feel free to cut off the wings, and use them for another recipe…
For home-made salt-free turkey stock: Boil the turkey wings in a large pot of spring water with roughly chopped onions, carrots, celery, and black pepper corns for a few minutes, then simmer uncovered for 3 hours over low heat, and occasionally spoon away the fatty foam from the surface. Strain the contents of the pot, and remove the solids. Cool the stock liquid to room temperature, store in Bernardin glass mason jars, and chill until ready to use. The stock can be made ahead of time. (Recipe details will be shared in a future post.)
For home-made gravy: As the roast turkey rests on a cutting board, whisk melted butter and flour in a saucepan over medium heat until thickened. Gradually whisk in 2 cups of home-made turkey stock, and 1 to 2 cups of separated drippings. Continue to whisk for a few minutes until your gravy is smooth and thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Recipe details will be shared in a future post.)
If you insist on keeping the wings on the turkey, simply tuck the tips of the wings under the bird to avoid burning them while roasting the turkey.
Please don’t eat the aromatics stuffed into the cavity of the turkey.
I don’t have a non-stick roasting pan with a wire rack, so I used a light disposable aluminum roasting pan to roast the turkey. The disposable pan didn’t come with a wire rack, so I created a “vegetable bed” to elevate the turkey above the bottom of the pan, and hold the turkey in place. The light aluminum pan was placed on top of a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet to reinforce the base of the aluminum pan while the turkey roasted, and to make it easier to lift the heavy bird in, and out of the hot oven.
If you choose to use a really heavy turkey, don’t hesitate to ask for help to lift it in, and out of the hot oven…that’s what family and friends are for. 🙂 (Note: None of us were burned while preparing the roast turkey, but it’s good to keep safety in mind at holiday dinners.)
How would you describe a perfect roast turkey? Share your thoughts with me in the Comments section below.
Here’s the recipe.
- 8 medium yellow potatoes, halved
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 3 large white onions, peeled and quartered
- 17-pound fresh whole turkey, grain-fed and air-chilled
- Sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- ½ lemon
- 1 large white onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Vegetable Bed: Lay the halved potatoes, carrot chunks, and quartered onions at the bottom of a roasting pan.
- Remove the giblets from the cavity, and remaining pinfeathers on the skin. Cut off excess fat.
- Wash the turkey, and pat it dry.
- Cut off the wings, and reserve them for a turkey stock recipe. Alternatively, the wings can be tucked under the body of the bird.
- Aromatics: Stuff the cavity of the turkey with garlic cloves, lemon, onion, and celery. Tie the legs together with cooking twine.
- Season the back of the turkey with salt and pepper, then place the turkey breast-side up in the roasting pan, on top of the vegetable bed.
- Brush turkey with melted butter. Season the turkey breasts, thighs, and legs with salt and pepper.
- Transfer to the center of a preheated oven, and roast for about 3 hours and 40 minutes (13 minutes per pound), basting the turkey with the drippings and rotating the pan 180 degrees every 40 minutes. If the juices run clear when you cut into the lower thigh, the turkey is done.
- Remove the turkey from the roasting pan, and transfer to a large cutting board. Cover with aluminum foil, and let the turkey rest for 25 minutes.
- In the mean time, remove the vegetables from the roasting pan, and set aside. Remove the drippings from the pan, and reserve for a gravy recipe.
- Cut the turkey, and serve with cooked vegetables.
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