Roast Turkey

turkey recipe

Perfect Roast Turkey with Herb Butter

Perfect Roast Turkey with Herb Butter and Gravy

Introduction:

Roasting a turkey is a culinary tradition that brings families together, especially during festive occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas. The key to a perfect roast turkey lies in a combination of flavorful herbs, a moist interior, and a crispy, golden-brown skin. In this comprehensive recipe, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of preparing and roasting a delicious turkey that will be the centerpiece of your holiday feast.

Ingredients:

  1. Whole turkey (12-15 pounds)
  2. Salt (kosher or sea salt)
  3. Black pepper (freshly ground)
  4. Olive oil
  5. Herb Butter:
    • 1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
    • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (finely chopped)
    • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme (finely chopped)
    • 2 tablespoons fresh sage (finely chopped)
    • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  6. Aromatics for the Cavity:
    • 1 onion (quartered)
    • 1 lemon (halved)
    • 4 cloves garlic (smashed)
    • Fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage)
  7. Turkey Stock (for gravy):
    • Turkey neck and giblets
    • 1 onion (quartered)
    • 1 carrot (chopped)
    • 1 celery stalk (chopped)
    • 4 cups chicken broth
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 bay leaf
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  8. Gravy:
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
    • Turkey stock (strained)

Equipment:

  1. Roasting pan with a rack
  2. Kitchen twine
  3. Meat thermometer
  4. Basting brush
  5. Aluminum foil

Step 1: Thawing the Turkey

Ensure the turkey is fully thawed before starting the cooking process. Allow 24 hours of thawing time in the refrigerator for every 4-5 pounds of turkey. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1-2 hours before roasting to bring it to room temperature.

Step 2: Preparing the Herb Butter

In a medium bowl, combine softened butter, chopped rosemary, thyme, sage, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined. This herb-infused butter will add rich flavor and moisture to the turkey.

Step 3: Preparing the Turkey

a. Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). b. Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey cavity. c. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels inside and out. d. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. e. Gently separate the turkey skin from the breast meat using your hands, creating pockets.

Step 4: Applying Herb Butter

a. Using a basting brush or your hands, generously apply the herb butter under the turkey skin, spreading it over the breast meat. b. Rub the exterior of the turkey with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. c. Truss the turkey legs with kitchen twine to ensure even cooking.

Step 5: Stuffing the Cavity

a. Place the quartered onion, halved lemon, smashed garlic cloves, and fresh herbs in the turkey cavity. These aromatics will enhance the flavor of the turkey from the inside.

Step 6: Roasting the Turkey

a. Place the turkey on a rack in the roasting pan, breast side up. b. Tent the turkey with aluminum foil, leaving enough space to prevent it from touching the skin. c. Roast the turkey in the preheated oven, calculating the cooking time based on the weight (about 15 minutes per pound). d. Baste the turkey with pan juices every 30 minutes, removing the foil during the last hour to allow the skin to brown.

Step 7: Checking for Doneness

a. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The turkey is done when the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165°F (74°C) and the breast meat reaches 160°F (71°C). b. If the skin is getting too dark, cover it loosely with foil.

Step 8: Resting the Turkey

a. Once the turkey reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the oven. b. Tent the turkey with foil and let it rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a moist and flavorful turkey.

Step 9: Making Turkey Stock for Gravy

a. While the turkey rests, prepare the turkey stock. In a large pot, combine the turkey neck, giblets, onion, carrot, celery, chicken broth, water, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. b. Simmer the stock over medium heat for 1-2 hours, then strain the liquid. This will be the base for your delicious gravy.

Step 10: Making Gravy

a. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk continuously to create a roux. Cook until the roux turns golden brown. b. Gradually add the strained turkey stock, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Continue cooking until the gravy thickens. c. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 11: Carving the Turkey

a. Transfer the rested turkey to a carving board. b. Remove the kitchen twine and carve the turkey into slices. Serve with the prepared gravy.

Conclusion:

With this detailed recipe, you’re well-equipped to create a show-stopping roast turkey that will impress your family and friends during holiday celebrations. The combination of herb-infused butter, aromatic stuffing, and a perfectly cooked turkey will make this dish a memorable centerpiece for your festive table. Enjoy the process of cooking and sharing this delicious meal with your loved ones!

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