Whether it's your first time hosting the holidays or you've done it thousands of times, there's a lot of pressure riding on the turkey. It's impossible to escape the worries that this simple bird presents. Not only is it the centerpiece of the meal, but it's also notoriously difficult to cook. However, with some preparation and a few simple tricks, you can present a turkey that will have everyone counting the days until the next feast.
Turkey contains vitamins B6 and B12, as well as niacin, choline, selenium, and zinc. Dark meat usually has more vitamins and minerals than white meat.
Onions are nutrient-dense and are particularly rich in vitamins C, B9, and B6 and potassium.
Celery provides plenty of fiber, which aids in digestion, and helpful antioxidants.
Preparing the perfect turkey requires a few key supplies. Make sure that you have a shallow roasting pan, as well as some twine to tie the legs, and a basting brush to help season it. Other handy items include a knife, a small mixing bowl, a saucepan, a meat thermometer, and some paper towels.
Set the oven to 325 F.
Place the chopped carrot, celery, and onion in a large, shallow roasting pan. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on top of the vegetables.
Pat both the inside and outside of the turkey with paper towels.
Combine the black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Use around a third of the mixture to season the inside of the turkey. Fold the wing tips under the body.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the edges become slightly golden. Add the sage and rosemary, cooking for one minute.
Place the herbs inside the turkey, saving the melted butter for later. Tie both legs together with twine.
Using a basting brush, spread melted butter over the outside of the turkey. Season the outside with your remaining salt mixture.
Cook the turkey, uncovered, in the oven until it is no longer pink at the bone and the juices are clear. This takes about three hours. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone. The turkey should read 180 degrees F. Remove the turkey from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
One of the hardest parts of cooking a turkey is making sure the outside is perfectly crisp while the inside remains juicy. To make it easier, just coat the outside of your turkey with mayonnaise instead of butter.
Before you place your turkey in the oven, let it warm up a little bit. If it's too cold when you begin to roast it, the skin will burn before the interior cooks through.
Dark meat usually takes longer to cook. Because the back of an oven is often much hotter, place the legs of the turkey towards the back if you have the room.