Yule Turkey

This recipe originated in “The Wicca Cookbook” by Jamie Wood and Tara Seefeldt. It came with a recipe for in-the-bird stuffing but I omitted it for both cooking time and safety. Also, since I’m not familiar with roasting with cheesecloth, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how much I should use, as well as if I should remove it for basting or not. Well, one year I said “screw it!” and made a few more modifications so I could cook it in a roasting bag. It came out just as delicious and I didn’t have to spend an entire day home in order to baste the thing. Bonuses!

  • 18 to 22 pound turkey
  • 2 large oranges, cut in half
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • Paprika

Remove the giblets and neck of the turkey. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Wash the turkey well, inside and out. Dry the turkey, inside and out with paper towels. Squeeze the juice of the oranges over the outside of the turkey and rub some juice on the inside of the cavity. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Rub the outside of the turkey with 3/4 cup of the butter and smear the crushed garlic all over it as well. The butter acts as a basting juice during the first half of the cooking time. Season the turkey with salt and pepper and then sprinkle paprika all over it (I go nuts with it). Carefully place the turkey into prepared oven roasting bag, within a roasting pan. Tightly close up bag and cut slits into it, if required. Place the turkey in the oven.

Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness (180º F). A turkey is done when the thigh juices run clear yellow when pricked, there are no traces of pinkness, and the drumstick moves easily in its socket. Expect to cook about 3-4 hours. Allow turkey to stand for 30 minutes. Carve turkey and serve on a festive platter.

Serves 15 to 20

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