Herb Roasted Turkey

Impress your family and friends with a beautiful chestnut-golden turkey this holiday season. Roasting a whole turkey is incredibly simple and offers a truly a wonderful dinner along with plenty of delicious leftovers to enjoy afterward.

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (14- to 16-pound) fresh or frozen turkey
  • 4 tsp teaspoons fine sea salt, divided
  • 6 tbsp salted butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage, plus 10 to 12 leaves
  • 1 ½ tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus 2 (6-inch) sprigs
  • 1 ½ tsp finely chopped fresh thyme, plus 5 sprigs
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into large chunks
  • 6 large cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 to 4 cups turkey or chicken stock
  • Roasted garlic bulbs, for garnish
  • Champagne grapes, for garnish
  • Fresh herb sprigs, for garnish

Directions

1. Thaw turkey, if frozen. Remove and discard neck and giblets from turkey or reserve for another use. Rinse turkey body cavity with cold water. Trim off and discard excess fat. Pat cavity and skin dry with paper towels. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons salt in cavity and 1½ teaspoons salt over skin. If desired, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

2. Remove turkey from refrigerator 1 hour before roasting. Pat cavity and skin dry with paper towels. For herb butter, in a small bowl combine butter, 1 tablespoon sage, 1½ teaspoons rosemary, 1½ teaspoons thyme, lemon zest, remaining ½ teaspoon salt and the black pepper; set aside.

3. Place oven rack in lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray roasting rack with cooking spray; place rack in pan and set aside.

4. Meanwhile, place turkey breast side up. Gently slide your fingers under the breast skin to loosen the skin to the thighs, being careful not to tear the skin. Slide 10 to 12 sage leaves under skin, spacing them evenly.

5. Loosely stuff onion, garlic cloves, bay leaves, 2 rosemary sprigs and 5 thyme sprigs in the turkey cavity. Skewer neck skin to back. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen string. Twist wing tips under back.

6. Place the turkey, breast side up, on the prepared roasting rack. Rub half of the herb butter evenly over outside of turkey. Add 2 cups stock to roasting pan. Loosely cover turkey with foil. Roast for 2½ hours.

7. Remove foil. Brush with remaining herb butter. If necessary, add 1 to 2 cups remaining stock to roasting pan. Roast, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

8. Baste turkey with cooking juices; roast for 30 minutes to 1¼ hours more or until internal temperature reaches 175°F to 180°F in thickest part of thigh away from bone or 165°F in the breast, basting every 20 minutes. (If necessary, replace foil cover to prevent overbrowning.)

9. Remove turkey from oven; transfer to cutting board. Loosely cover with foil and let stand for 20 minutes.

10. To serve turkey, remove and discard onion, garlic and herb sprigs from cavity. Transfer turkey to a warmed serving platter. Garnish platter with garlic bulbs, champagne grapes and/or additional herb sprigs, if desired.

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