Roast turkey with rosemary, lemon, and garlic

This is a candidate for your Thanksgiving Day main course. Maybe some people don’t like a lot of garlic. Maybe some don’t like any. It might seem risky to have the whole main entrée reeking of garlic, were it not for the fact that the garlic in this recipe is on the inside, reeking subtly, if at all, out. The result is a gentle, evanescent aroma, not a bold, lasting taste.

  • 1 25 lb turkey
  • 8 (6”- to 8” sprigs) rosemary, fresh, rinsed
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
  • 1 8 oz onion, peeled and cut into 1” chunks
  • 2 large lemons, rinsed and cut into 1” chunks
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 tbsp rosemary, fresh, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon peel zest
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp <salt>, or to taste

If using a frozen turkey, begin thawing it in a pan in the refrigerator 4 days before roasting. Make sure turkey does not overlap pan rim during defrosting, or put in a heavy-duty foil pan lining.

Remove and discard leg truss from turkey. Pull off and discard any lumps of fat. Remove giblets and neck and save for gravy. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry.

Place turkey, breast up, on a V-shaped rack in a 12” × 17” roasting pan (or one that is at least 2” longer and wider than the bird). Fill the body cavity loosely with rosemary sprigs, garlic, onions, and lemons; if they don’t all fit, tuck remaining into neck cavity. Fold skin flap under to hold in place. In a small bowl, mix olive oil, minced garlic, chopped rosemary, lemon peel, and pepper. Rub mixture all over turkey.

Insert a meat thermometer straight down through the thickest part of breast to the bone. (If using an instant-read thermometer, insert when checking temperature.) Roast in a 325°F oven for 3 to 4 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.

Tip the turkey slightly to drain the juices from the body cavity into pan. Transfer turkey to a platter. Let stand in a warm place, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove and discard vegetables from cavities, then carve. If the thigh joints are still pink, cut drumsticks from thighs, place thighs in a baking pan, and bake in a 450°F oven until no longer pink, 15 to 20 minutes, or microwave at high power 1 to 3 minutes.

Serves about 33 people at ¾ pound each.