- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 whole turkey (14 pounds)
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread (1 pound)
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- Fresh figs, red, black, and green grapes; and sage and thyme sprigs
This Thanksgiving turkey recipe, which calls for starting by cooking the bird breast-side-down, is easy and makes a bird that is extremely flavorful and moist.
Tips: For super-flavorful gravy, scatter cut oranges, onion, and garlic, along with a few rosemary and sage sprigs, in the bottom of the pan before you begin roasting the turkey.
For richer pan drippings and to protect the breast meat on the turkey, butter pieces of bread and place on the racks. The butter melts down into the pan drippings and the bread keeps the breasts from getting damaged by the racks.
For easy flipping of the turkey, use a spoon in the cavity for leverage.
In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup salt and 1 tablespoon pepper. Rub mixture all over turkey, including inside body cavity. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least overnight and up to 24 hours, to allow seasoning to penetrate meat.
Remove plastic from turkey; rinse inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425° with rack in lower third of oven. Tuck wings under turkey; tie drumsticks together with a kitchen twine. Trim bread to length of turkey breast (about 9 inches), then slice horizontally. Butter cut sides of bread. On a V-shaped wire rack set in a roasting pan, place slices side by side lengthwise, buttered sides up. Place turkey breast side down, so it rests on bread (not directly on rack). Roast 45 minutes.
Remove turkey from oven and, using a kitchen towel to hold the neck side and a wooden spoon inside cavity for leverage, carefully flip turkey breast side up. Pour broth into pan, then rotate pan and return to oven. Reduce heat to 350°. Continue roasting, basting with pan juices every 20 minutes, until a thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh (avoiding bone) registers 165°, about 2 hours more.
Transfer turkey to a serving platter. Remove rack from pan; discard bread. Set pan with drippings aside to make your referred gravy recipe (keeping in mind that drippings will be salty). Let turkey stand 30 minutes. Serve, garnished with figs, grapes, sage and thyme.