This recipe was originally featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2002, and revisited on Thursday, Nov. 25, 2004.

Happy Thanksgiving!


1 small to medium turkey (we used a fresh 12 pound, 6 ounce bird)
1 medium onion
4 cloves garlic
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
1 large sprig fresh sage
Vegetable oil


1. Preheat oven to 500F. Check first to make sure the rack is placed low enough to allow plenty of room for the bird!

2. Rinse and dry the turkey, taking care to remove neck, giblets and anything else that may have been tucked into both cavities. Rub the outside of the bird with a little vegetable oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Put it on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.

3. Smash two of the garlic cloves with the side of a knife, and tuck one of each under the breast skin.

4. Put the rosemary and sage into the turkey's abdominal cavity. Put in the onion, carrot, celery and remaining two garlic cloves. (Optional: First heat these vegetables in the microwave in a bowl with a little water until they're aromatic, then add them to the cavity.)

5. Put the turkey in to roast. After 20 to 30 minutes at 500F (a period that, if your house is like ours, may be signaled by the smoke detectors going off), reduce heat to 350F. At this point, cover the breast portion with a square of lightly oiled aluminum foil; this will keep the breast skin from getting too dark as well as avoiding the white meat overcooking before the thigh meat is done. Baste if you wish, but in my experience it's not necessary. Best to keep the oven door closed and the heat in.

7. Roast for a total of about 2 hours for a 12-pound bird, but don't rely entirely on on the clock - it's best to use a meat thermometer. When the temperature at the middle of the breast reaches 160F, you're done. Remove the turkey from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.