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Turkey and thanksgiving go hand in hand! And Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays! I get to enjoy seeing all my kids around the table at the same time. My family typically comes into town a couple of days before Thanksgiving because they’re so excited about the food and the cooking process.
It’s the same thing every year. My kids start calling and asking what I’m making. Of course, as a mom, I always ask what they want and, without fail, they request my roasted herbed butter turkey.
Although the recipe has stayed the same for 25 years, our family is growing. Now, instead of just one turkey, I make two. Fortunately, my twist on this holiday ensures that doubling or tripling the recipe is no problem. In fact, this turkey recipe is so easy, delicious, and straightforward, it just takes 20 minutes to prepare the bird, and the final result is an incredibly juicy, flavorful Thanksgiving meal! I’ve never changed my method of cooking the bird, which is the reason it works every time – guaranteed.
How Do I Thaw a Frozen Turkey?
In the week leading up to Thanksgiving, you need to be thinking ahead. A fully frozen turkey needs to be thawed in the refrigerator, and it takes one day to thaw every 4-5 pounds. For example, if you have a 12-pound bird, you’ll need to leave it in the fridge for three days to thaw completely.
How Much Does This Roasted Herbed Butter Turkey Serve?
That depends on how big your bird is! In general, you should buy a turkey with 1-1.5 pounds of meat per person. If you’ve got 20 Thanksgiving dinner guests, you’ll need about 30 pounds in total. My recipe is for 14 people, so I use 21 pounds of turkey.
What Herbs Should I Use for Roasting?
You’re certainly free to experiment with whatever herbs you love most, but if you want to stick to my tried-and-true roasted herbed butter turkey, I suggest working with rosemary, sage, and thyme. Their subtle yet rich taste blends beautifully with the turkey and compliment other Thanksgiving side dishes
What to Serve With Roasted Turkey?
While your turkey is in the oven, you’re free to work on other traditional Thanksgiving sides like green beans and brussels sprouts. You can even get started on dessert and make a Fall-themed pumpkin cheesecake.
How Can I Reheat this Dish?
For safety, meat should be reheated to 165 degrees F before eating. Although you can use the microwave, your leftovers will taste much better if you reheat them in the oven. Place your bird in a pan and cover it with foil to retain moisture. Heat for about 20-30 minutes at 300 degrees F.
My Dos and Don’ts of Roasted Herbed Butter Turkey
Because I have fine-tuned this recipe over 25 years, I’ve got a few do’s and don’ts that I like to mention before diving into the recipe:
- I don’t brine
- I don’t baste early on – only at the end
- I don’t stuff the turkey – I make the stuffing on the side
- I do prepare the turkey a day early and take it out an hour before cooking time!
- I do spread the herb butter underneath the skin, especially the breast.
- I do cover the turkey with foil the whole roasting time (only uncover the last half an hour)
- I do start with a high temperature of 425F for the first 30 minutes, then lower it to 350F for the rest of the roasting, depending on the size of the turkey
- I do use a thermometer, a digital one. It’s really important to get one. A fully cooked bird should reach 165 F, but I take it out when it reads between 157F and 160F because it will keep cooking as it rises.
- I do cover it with foil and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before serving or carving!
First, I remove the turkey from the bag and wash it with cold water to rinse off any blood. This is also when you should remove giblets and the neck.
Next, I scrub the skin with salt and vinegar. Wash again with cold water, inside and out.
Wash herbs thoroughly and dry them well.
Soften the butter. Mix the butter with fresh, chopped herbs and a bit of orange zest. Remember to adjust the amount of butter to the size of the turkey you're cooking.
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Lower the rack to the bottom part of the oven. Chop your fresh vegetables and spread them on the bottom of a roasting pan; keep 2 cups to the side for the stuffing.
Place the prepared turkey (as dry as possible) in a separate pan. Lift a bit of the skin over the breast and gently edge your fingers under the turkey's skin as far as you can carefully without ripping the skin (You may use a wooden spoon if you prefer). Stuff the bird with 2 cups of the cut vegetables and add a few sprigs of fresh herbs if you have extra.
Tie the legs together using kitchen twine. Transfer the turkey to the roasting pan over the cut vegetables. Spread the remaining butter all over the bird: breast, legs, and wings. Add one cup of water to your pan before covering the turkey with multiple layers of aluminum foil to retain moisture. Roast for 30 minutes at 425 degrees F.
After 30 minutes, reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and continue roasting for another 2 hours, or until the thermometer reads between 157-160 degrees F. Remove the turkey and keep it covered for a minimum of 20 minutes before carving and serving.
|21 lbs. turkey (clean and dry)|
|2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (chopped fine)|
|2 tablespoons fresh sage (chopped fine)|
|2 tablespoons fresh thyme (chopped fine)|
|12 oz unsalted butter (soften)|
|2 oranges zest|
|1 large onion (chopped)|
|8 celery stalks (roughly chopped)|
|1 fennel (chopped roughly)|
|5 carrots (peeled and chopped)|
|Salt and pepper to season|
|1 cup water|
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