- 1 fresh turkey, about 16 lb.
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 Tbs. turkey herbs
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room
- 3/4 cup turkey or chicken stock
- 1/2 cup Madeira wine
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325ºF.
Remove the giblets and neck, if included, and reserve for making gravy, if desired. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off and discard excess fat. Season the turkey inside and out with salt and pepper, and place 2 Tbs. of the herbs and the bay leaf inside the body cavity. If desired, truss the turkey with kitchen twine. Spread 2 Tbs. of the butter over the turkey breast and evenly coat the outside of the turkey with the remaining 2 Tbs. herbs.
Place the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan. Fold a 3-foot square piece of cheesecloth into quarters, dampen with water and drape it over the breast, leaving the drumsticks exposed. Transfer to the oven.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the remaining 6 Tbs. butter with the stock and Madeira. After 30 minutes of roasting, begin basting the turkey with the butter mixture through the cheesecloth. Continue roasting, basting every 20 minutes, for 1 1/2 hours more. Then baste every 30 minutes with the butter mixture and the pan juices until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, away from the bone, registers 165ºF, and inserted into the thigh registers 175ºF, about 1 1/2 hours more. If the breast begins to cook too quickly, tent it loosely with aluminum foil. Total roasting time should be about 3 1/2 hours.
Transfer the turkey to a warmed platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for about 20 minutes before carving.