Moist roast turkey
Two readers, Sarah Hamilton of Medfield and Lydia Smith of Lexington, write that the best birds are cooked breast side down, so the juices from the leg meat baste the breast and it stays quite moist. Finish roasting breast up. There is no easy way to turn the turkey. If you cover your hands with paper towels while someone holds the roasting pan, you can flip it easily. Wear an apron. An unstuffed bird takes about 10 minutes per pound.
1 whole turkey (14 to 18 pounds)
Canola oil (for sprinkling)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 onion, quartered
1 carrot, quartered
1 lemon, halved
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1. Let the bird sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Set the oven at 325 degrees. Have on hand a large roasting pan. Set a piece of parchment paper the size of the turkey into the pan. Oil the paper.
3. Remove the giblets from both ends of the bird (they are often tucked into the neck end). Sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper. Add the onion, carrot, and lemon. Rub the skin of the bird all over with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Set the turkey on the parchment paper breast side down. Roast the bird for 1 1/2 hours. During roasting, baste the bird often. Remove it from the oven. Turn it breast side up. Continue roasting for 1 hour, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 160 degrees. Let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes; the temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees (cooked turkey temperature is 165 degrees).
5. Use the juices in the pan to make gravy (see recipe).