Classic Roasted Turkey
Time: 4 hours and 40 minutes
Yield: 8-10 servings
Turns out, there's no historical indication that the original Thanksgiving meal (at Plymouth colony) centered around the turkey. However, by the turn of the 19th century, turkey became a popular dish to serve on special occasions for a few reasons: 1) There was no shortage of turkeys. Some estimate there were at least 10 million turkeys in America at the time. 2) A single turkey was typically big enough to feed an entire family. 3) Turkeys on a family farm were nearly always available to slaughter, unlike cows and hens (producing milk and eggs throughout their lives). This Classic Roasted Turkey is perfect! It's simple, flavorful, juicy, and is sure to please those around your table.
Let the turkey sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. If possible remove all but one oven rack, leaving it in the bottom position.
Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey and set them aside for the gravy (if desired).
Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and season inside and out with salt and pepper.
Stuff the cavity with the onion, carrot, celery, sage sprigs, and thyme sprigs.
Tie the legs together (kitchen twine works). Tying the legs is essential to ensure even cooking throughout the meat.
Put the turkey on a rack set in a large roasting pan and tuck the wings under the body.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk the paprika, chopped sage, and chopped thyme into the melted butter.
Let the paprika butter cool slightly, then brush it all over the turkey. Try to make sure every exposed part of the turkey gets buttered.
Transfer the turkey to the oven and roast for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, baste the turkey with the drippings at the bottom of the roasting pan.
Continue roasting for about 2 more hours, basting every 30 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and a meat thermometer (inserted into the thigh) reaches 165 degrees F.
Remove the turkey from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board.
Let rest for 30 minutes before carving; reserve the drippings for gravy, if desired.
Serve with your favorite sides and dressing!