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Christmas Turkey recipe: How to roast a turkey

Roasting a tender, juicy, delicious turkey for your holiday feast is a skill everyone appreciates. Yet too often, polite guests are offering their admiration while choking on a piece of meat with the consistency of a wallet. Scott Cutaneo, who trained with the greats - Daniel Boulud, Alain Ducasse and Michel Guerard -; is the chef-proprietor of the four-diamond (AAA) Le Petit Chateau in tony Bernardsville, N.J. Here's his simple recipe for how to roast a turkey.

Step-by-step guide to roasting turkey:
1. Add onions, celery and carrots to bottom of roasting pan, and then sprinkle a few sprigs of
thyme over the vegetables. (You could put a rack on the bottom of the turkey, but we like to use different vegetable and herbal aromatics as a base for the turkey. It also adds flavor to the broth that is made by adding water to produce a great sauce or jus.)

2. Place the turkey on top of the vegetables.

3. Truss the turkey by wrapping the string around the back, crisscrossing and wrapping it twice around the legs, and then tying it under the neck.

4. Tuck the wings under the body of the turkey. (Trussing and tucking in the wings keeps everything tight to the body of the bird, which produces a more evenly cooked bird.)

5. Brush the turkey with the oil and butter mix. (This enables the salt and pepper to adhere to the skin, and it also helps keep the turkey moist, tender and tasty.)

6. Sprinkle on salt and pepper.

7. Add two inches of water on the bottom to the roasting pan.

8. For a 12 to 14 pound turkey, place in a 375 degree, preheated oven for a total of approximately three hours.

9. After roasting the turkey for hour and a half, take the turkey out of the oven to see how the cooking process is going. To achieve a more golden brown, baste with some of the broth that has been pooling on the bottom from the stock of turkey and the vegetables. (It's important not to baste your turkey too much. You lose oven heat while you're basting, and it really doesn't add flavor to the meat — or make it more tender.) You just want to make sure the skin is golden brown.

10. Put the bird back into the oven.

11. After roasting at 375 degrees for another hour and a half, take it out of the oven and check the turkey's temperature. (Take the temperature at the back of the breast, and insert the thermometer all the way in, making sure it isnt touching a bone, until the temperature reading stabilizes.) The ultimate goal is 165 degrees, but we want to remove the turkey from the oven sooner than that — at around 155 degrees — because all poultry will continue to cook when it's removed from the oven. You don't want an overcooked bird!

12. Remove the roasted turkey from the oven and cover with aluminum foil so it doesnt lose its heat, and continues to cook.

13. Let your bird rest for around 45 minutes before serving and get ready to savor a perfectly cooked, tender, juicy, moist and delicious roasted turkey!

The photo above is my own turkey that I made for Christmas.

I love turkey and I make them year round including Thanksgiving.

Click on the video to see how to make your Christmas Turkey.

How to roast a turkey


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