1 fresh turkey, about 16 lb., neck, heart and gizzard removed (reserved, if desired)Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 4 tablespoons Chuck Williams’ Turkey Herb Blend (thyme, marjoram +sage?)*
I bay leaf 8 tablespoons (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
¼ cup unsalted turkey or chicken broth
½ cup Madeira wine
Let turkey stand at room temperature up to 2 hours.
Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 325° F.
Rinse turkey inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off and discard excess fat. Season turkey inside and out with salt and pepper, and place 2 Tbs. of the herbs and bay leaf inside body cavity.
Truss turkey as desired, spread 2 tablespoons of the butter over turkey breast and evenly coat outside of turkey with remaining 2 tablespoons herbs. Place turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan.
Fold a 3-ft. square piece of cheesecloth into quarters, dampen with water and drape it over the breast, leaving drumsticks exposed. Transfer to oven. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm remaining 6 Tbs. butter with broth and wine until butter melts. After 30 min. of roasting, baste turkey with butter mixture through cheesecloth. Continue roasting, basting every 20 minutes, for 1 ½ hours more. Then baste every 30 minutes with butter mixture and pan juices until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone, registers 175° F. about 1 ½ hours more (about 31/2 hr. total). Transfer turkey to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest about 20 minutes before carving. Serves 12.
* (Since this method is adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen, appearing in the Thanksgiving 2001 catalog, the info appeared linked to a product from that catalog. We have no idea if that is good but clearly use your judgment, a judicious sprinkling of your favorite bouquet garni blended with poultry-seasoning-type herbs would work. If you have access to the blend recommended by Chuck, by all means try it.)
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