4 onions, 1 of them sliced into rings or slivers, the other 3 cut into chunks
full head of garlic cloves
2 sticks of butter, softened
lots of fresh rosemary, 1/2 c or more plus stems for cavity, chopped into little bits
lots of fresh sage, at least 20 leaves, plus full stems for cavity, chopped into little bits
salt & pepper
electric thermometer (invest in a good one with a 20% Coupon at Bed, Bath, & Beyond)
I make my basting butter the day before. My kids and I go pick the fresh herbs from the school where I used to teach. It has become a neat tradition. Then I chop the herbs into tiny bits and mix with the 2 sticks of softened butter. You can also use pressed garlic cloves and seasonings. Using a rubber spatula, I scoop the butter into the bottom of a baggie and with my hands, I smoosh the butter to the bottom and try to shape it into a log. Refrigerate overnight. Thanksgiving/Christmas morning, remove and slice into 1/4" disks to place under the skin of the turkey.
I saw on 'The Chew' where you can actually season and butter baste the turkey the night before so that Thanksgiving morning you can just fill the cavity and start the oven.
We buy our bird at least 5 days before Thanksgiving/Christmas. We put it in the fridge to start defrosting on Saturday before Thanksgiving (allow 24 hours for every 4 lbs). A 12 lb bird should take 3 days to thaw, but recommendations are to allow an extra day just to be sure. It's safe to keep a thawed bird in the fridge a day or two. If you find it still frozen TG morning, fill clean sink with cold water. Place bird in and change water every 30 minutes.
1. Open the bird (7 am at our house) and remove neck and giblets pack. Discard if you're not using them. Preheat oven to 325.
2. Gently slide your fingers between the skin and the meat, loosening the skin so you can place your butter disks inside. Do this all over the entire bird.
3. Place the butter throughout the turkey and pat it down a bit. Save some to rub on the outside of the skin or use oil. Salt and pepper the outside. We also use poultry seasoning.
4. Put one onion (cut into rings or slivers) onto the bottom of the roasting pan. Place the bird on top. Shove the other onions (chunked) and peeled garlic cloves inside the cavity. I also place any leftover herb branches. If possible, reclamp the legs.
5. Place the thermometer probe into the meatiest piece of the thigh, not touching any bone, and set it to 180 degrees.
6. Place the turkey in the oven.
7. If turkey is browning too quickly, you may loosely cover with a foil tent.
Last year our 11 lb bird took 5 hours.
Roasting times according to Better Homes and Gardens magazine at 325 degrees:
8-12 lbs......unstuffed: 2 3/4 to 3 hours stuffed: 3 to 3 1/2 hours
12-14 lbs...unstuffed: 3 to 3 3/4 hours stuffed: 3 1/2 to 4 hours
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