Turkey 101 - Roasting

There really are so many ways to roast a turkey, but here is how I prefer to do it.

One (12 to 14-pound) fresh whole turkey, giblets and neck removed
2 cups unsalted butter (4 sticks), melted, plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
1 bottle dry white wine
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 parsnips, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
1 onion, coarsely chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Rinse turkey with cool water and dry with paper towels. Let stand for 2 hours at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.with rack in lower third. Combine melted butter and white wine in a large bowl. Fold a large piece of cheesecloth into quarters and cut into a 17-inch, four-layer square. Immerse cheesecloth in butter and wine; let soak.

Add vegetables to a large, heavy roasting pan. Place a roasting rack over vegetables. Position turkey, breast-side up, on rack. If turkey comes with a pop-up timer, remove it; a countertop meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer is a more accurate indication of doneness. Fold wing tips under turkey. Season cavity with salt and pepper. Truss turkey with kitchen string. Fold neck flap under and secure with toothpicks. Rub turkey with softened butter and season with salt and pepper.

Lift cheesecloth out of liquid and squeeze it slightly, leaving it very damp. Spread it evenly over breast and about halfway down sides of turkey; it can cover some of the leg area. Place turkey, legs first, in oven. Cook for 30 minutes. Using a pastry brush or bulb baster, baste cheesecloth and exposed parts of turkey with butter and wine. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.and continue to cook for 2 more hours, basting every 30 minutes and watching pan juices; if vegetables begin to darken, add a little chicken stock or water.

After the 2 1/2 hours of cooking, carefully remove and discard cheesecloth. Turn roasting pan so breast is facing back of oven. Baste turkey with pan juices. If there are not enough juices, continue to use butter and wine. The skin gets fragile as it browns, so baste carefully. Cook 30 to 60 more minutes, basting after 30 minutes.

When fully cooked, transfer turkey to a serving platter and let rest for about 30 minutes.

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