A Perfect Turkey Recipe For Your Thanksgiving Table

A perfect turkey recipe for your Thanksgiving table from Sandra Lee, author of Semi-Homemade Cooking and Semi-Homemade Desserts and host of the Semi-Homemade television series on Food TV.
Sandra Lee

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove giblets from turkey. Clean and rinse the turkey inside and out and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels.

Turkey with stuffing: If you're stuffing the turkey, prepare stuffing ahead of time and spoon into main cavity just before cooking the turkey.

This is the more traditional way to prepare. You should know that some believe cooking a turkey without stuffing is safer.

Turkey without stuffing: To add subtle flavor to your turkey, place a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and sage in the main cavity.

You can also insert a quartered orange and/or apple to keep the turkey moist. Prepare stuffing in a separate dish and add turkey drippings for additional flavor.

Insert a disposable pop-up thermometer (available at most grocery stores) into the innermost thigh of the turkey. Once red indicator pops up, your turkey is ready.

Generously rub butter over the entire turkey to sear in flavor and tenderize the meat as it cooks. Depending on your taste, the butter can be flavored with herbs, garlic, citrus, spices and/or honey. Make a simple herb butter by combining:

1 stick or 1/2 cup softened butter (not margarine)
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 Tablespoons grated fresh orange peel
1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons salt

Directions:
Tuck the wing tips under the turkey and loosely tie the legs together to hold the shape.

Cook approximately 20-25 minutes for each pound of turkey.

Turkey with stuffing: Remove stuffing and place in serving bowl. Place foil over top of bowl to keep warm. Transfer turkey to a serving platter.

Turkey without stuffing: Remove fruit and herbs from the cavity and transfer turkey to a serving platter.

Tent turkey with foil and let stand for 10 minutes. This lets the juices circulate throughout the turkey, making it moister and easier to carve. Reserve pan drippings to make gravy. PregnancyAndBaby.com

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