Black Lacquered Turkey
Using 39 ingredients and a precise culinary methodology, Martha's friend and banker Jane Heller's recipe creates a juicy roasted bird beneath a dramatic black lacquered crust. Remove the coating with tweezers before serving, or allow each guest to remove it from his or her portion, to reveal the savory mahogany skin beneath.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place a 15 x 10 1/4-inch roasting rack in a heavy 16 x 13-inch roasting pan; alternatively, use two large disposable aluminum roasting pans set one inside the other for added strength.
Stuff the turkey with the stuffing. Using a trussing needle and butcher's string, sew the sides of the body cavity together, stitching from side to side, to enclose the stuffing. To truss the turkey, tuck wings under body. Tuck neck flap under body to secure; then center a 3-foot length of butcher's string over the neck flap. Bring the ends of the string under wings, over drumsticks, wrap each end around a drumstick, pull drumsticks together, and then tie ends of the string into a bow. (The bow makes it easier to remove the trussing string after roasting.)
Brush the turkey breast with melted butter. Place the turkey breast side down on the rack and brush with remaining melted butter. Place breast side down in the oven and roast until brown all over, about 30 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven and reduce temperature to 325 degrees. While the oven cools, brush the hot turkey with the paste and allow it to set until dry, 5 to 7 minutes; turn it over on the rack and brush the breast side with paste. Place the coated turkey in the oven. Using a turkey baster, baste with basting liquid.
Continue basting the turkey every 15 minutes with basting liquid throughout the roasting process, about 7 hours (allowing about 20 minutes per pound). Results yield a turkey with a dark, black coating over the skin that can be removed with tweezers before serving to reveal succulent, moist skin and meat.