This high-heat roasting technique delivers a beautifully browned, intensely flavorful bird, and it only requires attention to a few details. To keep the drippings from burning, the pan should be heavy-gauge.
Remove the giblets and neck from:
Place them in a saucepan and simmer for 2 hours in:
-4 cups chicken or turkey stock
Strain the stock and reserve in the fridge for making gravy, below. While the stock is simmering, combine in a small bowl:
-1/2 cup fresh herbs, finely chopped (your choice, but we use a combination of sage, thyme, rosemary, and parsley or arugula)
-2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
-1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
-(1 tablespoon red pepper flakes)
-(1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard)
Gently loosen the turkey’s skin around it’s breasts, thighs, and legs with your fingers and push the herb mixture underneath, distributing it as best you can. Generously rub the turkey’s skin with:
-Salt (around a 1/4 cup for a 15-pound turkey)
Place the turkey on a rack in a heavy roasting pan and refrigerate overnight, or up to two days before cooking.
Take the turkey out of the refrigerator and let it warm at room temperature for 1 hour. Position a rack at the lowest level of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Wipe any accumulated juices out of the roasting pan and cavity. Stuff the bird with:
-1 carrot, coarsely chopped
-1 onion, coarsely chopped
-1 celery rib, coarsely chopped
Truss the bird with butcher’s twine for easier handling. Brush all over with:
-4 to 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
Turn the turkey onto its side, wing and thigh facing up. If it topples over, prop it up with crumpled aluminum foil. Roast for 30 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven. Wearing silicone gloves or heavy-duty oven mitts to protect your hands, grasp the turkey at both ends. You might find a set of sturdy tongs helpful for lifting and balancing the bird. Turn it onto its other side, again propping it up with foil if necessary, and roast for another 30 minutes. Turn twice more so that the turkey roasts twice on each side and until a thermometer plunged into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F. If the bird is over 18 pounds, you may want to tent it with a double-layer of aluminum foil and turn the heat down to 350°F to keep the skin from getting too brown. Remove the turkey to a platter and let stand loosely covered with aluminum foil, for at least 20 minutes before carving.
For the gravy, pour into the roasting pan:
-1 1/2 cups dry white wine, sherry, port, Madeira, or water
Place the roasting pan on two burners over medium-high heat. Bring the juices to a simmer and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Pour the mixture into a heatproof glass container and let the fat rise to the top, then skim off the fat with a spoon and discard. (You can also use a gravy separator.) Pour the remaining liquid into a saucepan. Add the juices that have accumulated around the turkey, along with all of the reserved neck-and-giblet stock.
Bring to a simmer. Mix to a smooth paste with your fingers:
-4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
-4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Whisk the paste bit by bit into the simmering sauce and cook until thickened. Season with:
-Several drops of fresh lemon juice or vinegar
-Salt and black pepper to taste