Cooking instructor Jill Simmons of the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-Op demonstrates how to prepare the perfect Thanksgiving turkey.
1 onion, halved or quartered
2 to 3 garlic cloves
6 rosemary sprigs
1 lemon, halved
1 (14- to 16-pound) Diestel organic turkey, giblets and neck removed, brined (see recipe below)
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
4 tablespoons olive oil
1-quart chicken stock and 1 cup white wine
A roasting pan and rack
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
1. Combine salt, pepper and paprika in a small bowl. Sprinkle the inside of the turkey with a third of the seasoning blend. Put the onion, garlic, four of the rosemary sprigs and lemon into the empty turkey cavity. Truss the legs of the bird. Rub entire bird with olive oil and the remaining seasoning blend. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan with V-shaped roasting rack, breast side down. Add chicken stock and wine to the bottom of the pan.
2. Place turkey in the oven, uncovered, and roast, unattended, for 1 hour. Carefully remove the turkey from the oven (close the door of the oven), watching out for steam. Baste the turkey with pan juices and turn turkey, breast side up. Return to the oven quickly and reduce the heat to 400 degrees and roast another hour, adding stock if the pan juices evaporate.
3. The turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the fleshy part of the thigh (close to but not touching bone) registers 170 degrees and the juices run clear. Let rest 10 minutes (the temperature will rise approximately 10 degrees in 10 minutes). Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover loosely with foil. Turkey may rest up to an hour before carving. When ready to serve, carve turkey and place slices on a warm platter. Serve with cranberry relish or cranberry chutney and garnish with remaining rosemary sprigs. Serves 8-10.
Note: This method of high-heat roasting is not recommended for turkeys weighing more than 16 pounds. For turkeys weighing less than 14 pounds, start checking the temperature earlier than two hours.