Adapted from a recipe by WISH
Roasting a turkey in a brown paper grocery bag creates a steamy environment that cooks the turkey quickly and produces extremely moist, flavourful meat. Bonus: No basting required. My mother does a simpler version of this recipe that does not require brushing the bag with butter or sealing it with staples. Those steps are just an added precaution.
1 10-lb fresh turkey, giblets and neck removed, washed and patted dry
½ cup unsalted butter, softened, plus 3 tablespoons for gravy
1 plain brown grocery bag large enough to accommodate turkey
2 medium carrots, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 small onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic, smashed
12 sprigs fresh thyme
6 fresh sage leaves
1 lemon, peeled with a vegetable peeler (reserve peel)
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1. Remove turkey from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking to ensure even
2. Place rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 325 F.
3. Melt 1/4 cup butter and apply to grocery bag using a pastry brush. It’s very important that bag is thoroughly greased and translucent as this will seal in steam. Place bag on its side on a rimmed baking sheet, with seams facing up. Place carrot, celery, onion and bay leaf inside bag and set aside.
4. Place 2 tablespoons butter inside cavity of turkey and rub remaining butter over skin. Season inside and out with salt and pepper. Place 3 cloves garlic, 1/2 of thyme, sage and lemon peel inside cavity. Fold wing tips under turkey and tie legs closed. Place remaining herbs and garlic inside paper bag and set turkey on top, breast-side up. Double fold bag’s opening and staple or paper clip closed. Roast for 2 hours, undisturbed.
Tip: Figure about 12 minutes per pound, up to 14 lb.
5. Remove from oven, open bag; be careful of steam inside bag. Turkey should read 170 F on an instant read thermometer. If needed, return to oven until this temperature is achieved. When finished, remove turkey from bag, place on platter and cover with foil. Let rest 20 minutes before carving. The turkey can also be returned to a baking sheet, before resting, and placed under a preheated broiler to darken skin, if desired.
6. While turkey rests, pour drippings from bag into a measuring cup, about 3 cups. Top up with water or chicken stock if necessary. Let drippings sit 5 minutes to allow fat to separate. Mash 2 cloves roasted garlic with a fork. Set aside. In a pot, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Blend in flour and stir until mixture is golden. Discard top layer of fat from measuring cup and pour remaining drippings into flour mixture, whisking constantly. Add reserved garlic and continue to whisk until gravy thickens. Pour through a fine mesh strainer and serve immediately.