1 10-15 lb. turkey, thawed
canola oil and/or softened butter
salt and pepper
Place the thawed turkey on a cutting board and remove any giblets (often wrapped inside the neck cavity). Pat it dry all over with paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Drizzle with oil and/or rub with a few spoonfuls of soft butter to cover the skin all over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a rack in a roasting pan and if you like, stuff the cavity with bread stuffing (above) or a halved lemon and handful of fresh herbs. Insert an oven-safe thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, being careful to not let the thermometer touch the bone (the bone conducts heat more efficiently and could provide an inaccurate reading).
Cover the turkey loosely with foil or the roaster lid. Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and cook for 15 minutes per pound (30 minutes per kilogram) total. Begin checking for doneness about one hour before the end of the recommended roasting time. (Fresh turkeys tend to cook faster.) Halfway through, remove the foil to ensure the skin crisps and browns nicely. If you want to baste your turkey, don’t do it more than once an hour to avoid opening the oven door too often and affecting the temperature.
Make the potatoes.
When the meat thermometer in the inner thigh reads 180° F (82°C) for a stuffed turkey, or 170° F (77°C) for an unstuffed turkey, remove it from the oven, cover it with foil and let it stand for 20-25 minutes before carving. This will help retain its natural juices, ensuring the meat stays tender and juicy. Make the gravy. Simmer any veggies you plan to serve.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, October 2012.