- 1 (24-pound) fresh tom turkey
- 3 tablespoons freshly chopped tarragon leaves
- 3 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme leaves
- 3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
- 3 tablespoons freshly chopped sage leaves
- 1 cup (2 sticks or 1/2 pound) butter, softened
- 2 onions, peeled, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch celery, well scrubbed and roughly chopped
- 2 apples, skin-on, stems and seeds removed, roughly chopped
- 2 oranges, skin-on, but rinsed, roughly chopped
- 2 carrots, roughly chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove the giblets from the turkey, wash the turkey well, and pat dry with paper towels.
Use your fingertips to gently separate the turkey skin from the breast. Mix the chopped herbs with the softened butter and distribute evenly underneath the turkey skin. This will create a self basting turkey and keep it moist as it cooks slowly.
Preheat oven to 450 or 500 degrees F.
Place the chopped onion, celery, apples, oranges, and carrots inside the cavity of the turkey and then sprinkle the turkey all over with salt and pepper, to taste. Place the turkey on a rack (the reason we place the turkey onto a rack is so we don't get a mushy bottom on the turkey) in a roasting tray, cover with aluminum foil, and place in a preheated oven at 450 to 500 degrees F for the first 25 minutes then reduce the heat to 325 degrees F for a further 4 hours checking every 20 to 30 minutes throughout the day. About 1 hour from finishing remove the foil and allow to get golden brown.
You should roast the turkey until an instant-read thermometer registers 180 degrees F (this is the temperature for a whole turkey) and the juices no longer run pink when you cut into the center of the thigh (it should be clear). The drumstick should move easily from the socket when lifted or twisted. When the turkey has finished cooking remove from oven and let it rest for at least 30 minutes - longer is better. It will not go cold!!!
Note: I personally don't like to baste because every time you open the oven you lose at least 25 degrees F of heat, so this means that you keep the turkey in the oven longer therefore drying it out.