13-15# Turkey (raised by local Farmer and Friend John Arbuckle)
Dressing (Wild Rice or Cornbread)
Coating (1/3 c. melted Butter, 1/2 tsp. Cayenne or Paprika, 1/4 c. fresh or dried Parsley, Salt, Freshly Ground Pepper)
Oven: 325 degrees.
Thaw Turkey completely. This usually takes us 3-4 days depending on the size of the Turkey. If we can, we will thaw it in the Refrigerator. If the temperature is just right outside, we will sometimes thaw it partially there, covered and protected of course. If indoors, we will cover with cotton towels to slow the thawing process.
The day of the Feast has arrived. Rinse Turkey with water and pat dry. At this point, we had the Turkey in the large oblong Blue Granite Roasting Pan on a small grate (to keep it off the bottom). Stuff loosely neck and end cavities with Dressing. Do not pack. Place rest of Dressing around the Turkey. We love this because it will cook well in the juices of the Turkey. Add 2-3 cups of the Broth from the Giblets in the bottom but not all.
Coat Turkey skin with melted Butter and sprinkle with Cayenne (or Paprika), Parsley, Salt and freshly ground Pepper. (We used Fresh Parsley from the Garden.) This will make a nice "artistic" look, the skin will seal and be tasty.
Cover with Roasting Pan lid. Place Turkey in the Oven with racks arranged so that it is in the center.
Turkey (with Dressing) will take about 20 minutes per pound to cook completely. In the last 2 hours, we check the Turkey and pour Broth from the Giblets on top (to keep Skin from drying out and to make a nice coat). Mother always used a Turkey Baster and we have no such thing. Pouring lightly works nicely.
Turkey is done when wing or leg can easily be pulled (almost separated) away from the Turkey. At this stage, they just about fall apart with a slight pull. Remove Turkey from Oven to set up and cool a bit before carving.
Notes: My Mother always used to put her Turkeys in aluminum foil, sealing them completely. While sometime quite a wrestling match toward the end, I always followed her lead because I thought it would keep them quite moist. However, I would often find that the foil leaked at the seams, meaning juice was escaping from the cooking of the Turkey. Here on the Farm, we try to eliminate our use of Aluminum, to cut down on waste and because research suggests a relationship with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. This time, Melanie insisted we skip the aluminum foil which we did. I was afraid the Turkey would dry out, but it was absolutely excellent and the skin was done (not overdone) to perfection.
Mother used to have the Turkey in so that we would sit down and eat at Noon sharp. That was no small feat, meaning that she would be up very early in the morning in preparation. Meanwhile her small children were behind the bedroom door like wild animals in a cage (almost) or rather like horses chomping at their bits to begin the race toward the presents under the Tree. The regimented "eating at noon tradition" is one we have set aside. We open presents in the morning accompanied by leisurely cups of Tea, Povitica, and Christmas Music. When this stage is complete, we 3 C's head to the kitchen and prepare the Turkey. We eat about 6pm. Give or take.