Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Keep your fresh turkey refrigerated until you are ready to prepare it for roasting. If you purchase a frozen turkey, the safest way to thaw it is in the refrigerator. Keep your turkey in its original wrapping and allow 24 hours for each 5 pounds of turkey, for example: if you have a 15 pound turkey, you will need 3 days to allow it to completely defrost.
If you are going to stuff your turkey, make your stuffing before you take the turkey out of the refrigerator. (*see recipe below) When you are ready to prepare your turkey, remove the giblet bag from the inside of the turkey. Rinse the turkey under cold water, including the inside. Pat the turkey dry.
Take your hand and run it between the skin and the meat of the breast, creating an envelope. Insert the herbs in this space. As the turkey roasts, the herbs will infuse the meat with flavor. Depending on what size turkey you have, you may not need all the herbs.
At this point stuff your turkey or cut up the lemon, apple and onion and place the chunks in the turkey cavity. Take your wooden skewers and close up the opening. If you have any extra stuffing, place it in a baking dish and bake during the last 40 minutes of the turkey roasting time.
Melt the stick of butter and white wine in a small saucepan. Using a pastry brush, liberally brush the turkey with the wine and butter mixture. Cover the turkey loosely; making a tent with the foil. Place the turkey in the oven. Cook according to pounds and if stuffed or not:
10 to 17 pounds- stuffed 3 to 3 1/2 hours not stuffed 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds - stuffed 3 1/2 to 4 hours not stuffed 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours
23 to 24 pounds - stuffed 4 to 4 1/2 hours not stuffed 5 to 6 hours
25 to 30 pounds - stuffed 4 1/2 to 5 hours not stuffed 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours
After the first hour, baste the turkey with the juice, butter and wine mixture at the bottom of the roasting pan. Check to make sure that the legs and the breast are not browning too quickly.
About 15 minutes before the turkey is done, remove the foil and turn the oven to 450 degrees F. Watch carefully while you allow the turkey to brown. The turkey is done when a meat thermometer reads, 180 degrees F. when inserted in the thickest part of the turkey thigh. The stuffing should also reach a temperature of 165 degrees F.
After you remove the turkey from the oven, allow the turkey to rest for about 20 minutes, before carving. Resting allows the juices to re-distribute themselves throughout the turkey ensuring a juicier bird.
While the turkey is resting; remove the stuffing from the turkey and place in a serving bowl. Next, remove all the juices and drippings from the pan. Skim off the fat and reserve some of the juice for gravy.** see recipe below. Place turkey on serving platter, carve and enjoy!
Recipe reprinted by permission of Wild Oats Natural Marketplace. All rights reserved.