12- to 16-pound turkey, preferably a heritage or pasture raised bird
1 tablespoon black pepper
10 sprigs fresh thyme
½ bunch flat-leaf parsley
2 small onions, halved
2 small apples, cored and halved
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups white wine (see tip)
Two days before serving, rinse turkey and pat dry.
Rub all over with kosher salt, slipping salt under
skin where possible and rubbing some into
cavities. Use about 1 tablespoon per 4 pounds of
Wrap bird in a large plastic bag and place in
refrigerator. On second night, turn turkey over. A
couple of hours before cooking, remove turkey from
bag and pat dry. (There is no need to rinse it
first.) Place in roasting pan and allow to come to
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Sprinkle half the pepper
into main cavity of turkey; add thyme, parsley,
half the onions and half the apples. Truss legs
with kitchen twine. Put remaining apples and
onions in neck opening and tuck neck skin under
Rub butter under breast skin and onto thigh meat.
Sprinkle bird with remaining pepper.
Roast for 30 minutes. Remove turkey from oven,
reduce heat to 350 degrees and cover breast of
bird and wing tips with foil. Add 1 1/2 cups white
wine (or use water) to bottom of roasting pan and
roast bird for another two hours, depending on
size; figure 12 minutes a pound for an unstuffed
bird. Remove foil in last half-hour so breast
When turkey has roasted for 2 hours, begin to test
for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer
(digital is best) into two places in thigh, making
sure not to touch bone. It should be at about 160
When roasting is done, tip turkey so interior
juices run back into pan. Remove turkey to a
separate baking sheet or serving platter, cover
with foil and then a damp kitchen towel and allow
to rest for at least 30 minutes.
Pour fat and drippings from pan into a measuring
cup. Deglaze pan with 1/2 cup white wine (or use
broth) and pour that into same measuring cup. Fat
and drippings can then be used to make gravy.
If you'd prefer not to use wine, you may
substitute water in Step 5 (in the roasting pan),
and broth in Step 8 (to deglaze the pan).
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