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Passion for Food / Thanksgiving recipe: How to make a crowd-pleasing classic roasted turkey

Passion for Food columnist Sherrel Jones shares a tried-and-true technique for delivering a crowd-pleasing turkey.
by Dave Cathey Published: November 2, 2011

Classic Roasted Turkey

I started basting our turkey with this sand plum jelly-butter mixture several years ago. It finishes beautifully with a lovely sweet golden finish. This classic method can be used with a lidded roasting pan or heavy-duty roaster with a tent of foil until final basting. Plan about 15 minutes roasting time per pound plus an additional 20 to 30 minutes resting time.

1 turkey, thawed or fresh, brined 10 to 12 hours or overnight if desired

Chicken broth to fill roaster pan an inch deep

Celery sticks to position in bottom of roaster as a rack for turkey

Fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme and sage leaves

Carrot sticks, onion slices and celery stalks to roast around turkey

¼ cup butter (2 tablespoons softened for first basting, 2 tablespoons reserved)

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup sand plum jelly melted with reserved butter for final basting

Consult thawing chart, allowing time for thawing if needed. Thaw and remove wrapper, working over sink to keep liquids from draining onto work space. Prepare roasting vegetables. Remove giblets and neck. Trim excess fat around cavity and neck.

On the day before cooking, brine defrosted or fresh turkey, if desired. Adjust oven racks to fit turkey and set temperature at 325 degrees.

Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Coat roaster with cooking spray or butter. Place turkey in prepared roaster. Tuck wings under themselves by bending end section behind larger section. Secure legs with butcher's twine or silicone bands. Coat turkey's surface with softened butter.

Surround turkey with slices of onion, carrot sections and celery stalks. Place sprigs of fresh herbs inside and around turkey, if desired. Pour broth around turkey and vegetables to a depth of 2 inches. Make a loose-fitting tent of foil, coating underside with cooking spray or butter. Secure tent over turkey so that liquids accumulating on foil will drip back into roaster. Use roaster lid if possible. Place turkey in oven.

Wash utensils with hot, soapy water and clean all surfaces that come into contact with the bird with bleach to eliminate risk of cross-contamination.

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