I've only roasted a turkey once or maybe twice before. I was very nervous about doing it this year. We bought our 15.5 pound turkey from the Natick Community Organic Farm. The farm is about 7 minutes down the road from our house. I am delighted to buy a turkey so very local to us when we live in the middle of suburbia. Maybe it sounds weird, but I like that I've seen the rafter of turkeys living on the farm before I bought one of them for my dinner. And yes, I looked up what a group of turkeys is called. :) On with the cooking!
First I let the turkey thaw in our refrigerator for about 4 days. On Thanksgiving, I unwrapped the bird, removed the giblets, rinsed the bird and patted it dry with paper towels. I briefly considered making gravy with the giblets, but I am a bit lazy and Aaron gets grossed out by giblets. There's always next year, right?
So here is the bird before I added any seasonings and such. I rubbed the inside and outside of the turkey with kosher salt and cracked black peppers. Then I loosened the skin around the breast so that I could tuck herbs and vegetables under the skin. I managed to make 4 cavities under the skin, and I rubbed olive oil with sage and thyme in there. Then I tucked in some fresh rosemary - our rosemary bush does not seem to mind the cold. I chopped up a couple of carrots, some celery, and about 1/4 of a medium, peeled turnip. I put the chunks of vegetables into the 2 holes. I poured a 1/2 c. of red wine and 1/2 c. water in the roasting pan.
By this point my oven was preheated to 425. I put the bird in the oven for 40 minutes. According to the farm instructions, doing this "sears" the turkey. After 40 minutes, I covered the turkey loosely with foil, turned down the temperature to 325 and set my timer for 4.5 hours. When I put the bread in the oven, I checked on the bird.
When the Patriots game ended, the turkey was done and sitting out of the oven to "let the juices resettle." I'm not sure where the juices go during a roasting, but the instructions said to do this, and I didn't want to screw up the main dish. Before I forget, the instructions said to cook the bird until the internal temperature reached 160. The thermometer instructions said roast turkey should reach 165. Mine got to 170.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the turkey, so I think I did all right!