Serves 6-8 people
Fresh Ontario turkey (10-12 pounds)
kosher salt (½ teaspoon per pound, e.g. 6 teaspoons for a 12 pound bird)
fresh ground black pepper (¼ teaspoon per pound)
½ cup unsalted butter
zest from 1 lemon
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh curly parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh chives, finely chopped
1 onion in back cavity
2 small onions or 4 shallots, peeled and cut into half
1 lemon (from butter paste) cut in half
2 garlic cloves, peeled
handful of fresh tarragon with the stems
handful of fresh parsley
6 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon olive oil
I tablespoon chives
The night before, wash and pat dry the turkey with paper towels and place in a large roasting pan with a rack underneath. In a small bowl mix the salt and pepper and evenly distributed inside and out the turkey and rub gently into the skin. Place in the refrigerator, uncovered. Dry brine for at least 12 hours.
The next day an hour before cooking, preheat oven to 400F and remove the turkey from the frig. With paper towel, brush off at least half of the salt pepper mixture on the outside of the turkey and discard. Place the onion in the back breast cavity of the bird and twist the wings underneath. Return the turkey to the rack. Place all the ingredients for the stuffing into the cavity of the bird and secure the legs with some twine to keep the legs together and the stuffing secure inside.
In a small bowl mix all the butter paste ingredients together. With your hand, gently slide your fingers between the skin and the flesh of the bird to create large pockets on either side of the breastbone. Reach down as much as possible on either side. Gently side half of the butter paste on one side evenly distributing over the breast. Repeat on the other side.
In a large bowl, place the peeled potatoes (dry off with paper towels), add the oil and toss. Set aside. Place the turkey in the 400F oven and cook for 30 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350 and place the potatoes around the turkey, continue to cook. Baste turkey every 20 minutes. You might need to add a little water to the pan and tent the turkey with some tin foil to slow down the browning process on the skin. At two and half hour mark, take a temperature reading. Turkey should read 180F. Continue to cook up to another 30 to 60 minutes or so till it reaches that temperature. (approximately 3 hours cooking time in total) Lift and tilt the turkey and let the juices flow into the pan. Place the turkey on a large platter and cover loosely with foil. Remove and discard the stuffing. Remove the potatoes, add a touch of water, scrap the bits on the bottom and drain all the juices from the roasting pan and place into a medium saucepan. Return the roasting pan with the potatoes into the oven and keep cooking at 350F to get crispy while the turkey rests for at least 30 minutes.
Place the pan of juices over medium low heat and keep warm till ready to serve. Either serve as is or strain and make gravy. Add salt and pepper to taste. After resting, carve and serve turkey on a platter, place potatoes in a large bowl. Garnish with chives and serve juice or gravy in a small pitcher.