Fresh Basil-Orange Roast Turkey

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Ingredients

Seasoning Blend:

  • 1/2 of a medium red onion
  • 6 large cloves garlic
  • 1 tightly-packed cup fresh basil leaves
  • Grated zest of one large orange
  • 1 teaspoon mild chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon each dry oregano and ground allspice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Juice of half the orange
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and fresh ground black pepper

The Turkey:

  • 16 to 18 pound hormone- and antibiotic-free (organic if possible) turkey (set aside neck, giblets and wing tips for gravy)
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 bottle dry white wine (sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, or chardonnay)
Instructions

1. Combine all seasoning blend ingredients in food processor and finely chop.

2. Preheat oven to 325°F. and set a single rack as low as possible in the oven. Slip the seasonings under the turkey's skin wherever you can. Rub the rest over the interior and exterior of the bird.

3. Line a large shallow roasting pan with the carrots and celery. Set turkey on them breast side down. Roast 15 minutes to the pound, or until an instant-read thermometer tucked into the thickest part of the thigh reads 175°. Shift the turkey every so often to keep breast from sticking.

4. After turkey has been in oven for 30 minutes, pour 1/3 of the wine over the bird, and baste frequently with pan juices. Continue adding wine over the next hour. Then baste with pan juices. During the last 30 minutes, carefully turn over turkey to brown breast area. Remove turkey from oven, arrange on a large platter, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 30 to 45 minutes in a warm place while making gravy and finishing the rest of the meal. Carve turkey at table.
Prep time: 
20 min
Cook time: 
About 2 hours
Total time: 
About 2 1/2 hours
Yield: 
Serves 16 to 18
  • Is the ability to cook what made us human?

    Richard Wrangham, a professor at Harvard University and author of Catching Fire, studies the role of cooking in human evolution. "Once you start thinking about the importance of cooking -- its supply of energy, its strange distribution compared to natural foods -- it's bound to have affected our evolution hugely, our behavior, our society, our cognition, all sorts of features about us," he says.

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