Friday, November 26, 2010

Classic herbed roasted turkey

So yesterday I had my first "European" Thanksgiving in a long time and, let me tell you, it was a blast. I had never hosted a dinner party for sixteen people before. It was hard but it was fun and everyone was so helpful we didn't have any big problems. Well, except the fact that I forgot to serve my chestnut soup I had worked so hard to make... guess I'll be eating a lot of it in the next few days. 
Other than that we all gathered around the dinner table and we ate, and ate, and ate
As I watched my guests chowing down turkey, mashed potatoes, roasted cauliflower, stuffing and whatever else they could get their hands on, I realized that this year I have many things to be thankful for. There's the old friends I can now see on a regular basis without having to cross an ocean. There's the new friends that welcomed me into their lives. There has been a few wonderful trips —Madrid, Barcelona and the Amalfi Coast come to mind— and the plan to take a few great ones in the near future. There's the fact that this year I didn't break my knee while cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I mean, I want to take that one as a good omen. There's snow coming this way and there's ski trips and snowmen and hot mulled wine and all the wonderful wintery things I've missed so much in the past nine years. 

So yes, I have a lot to be thankful for and only a few things that I seriously need to change in my life. But I'm content. And calm. Which, if you know me well, you'll know it doesn't happen very often. 

  • Adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1  (12-pound) fresh or frozen turkey, thawed
  • 4  thyme sprigs
  • 4  sage leaves
  • 4  garlic cloves
  • 1  medium onion, quartered
  • 4 tablespoons  butter, softened
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  kosher salt
  • 3/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  cup  chicken broth

Preheat oven to 500°.
To prepare the turkey, remove giblets and neck from turkey; reserve for gravy. Trim excess fat. Stuff body cavity with 4 thyme sprigs, sage leaves, garlic, and medium onion. Tie legs together with kitchen string.
Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Combine butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Rub butter mixture under loosened skin over breast and drumsticks. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey. Pour 1 cup water in bottom of a roasting pan. Place roasting rack in pan. Arrange turkey, breast side up, on roasting rack. Bake at 500° for 30 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 350° (do not remove turkey from oven).
Bake turkey at 350° for 1 1/2 hours or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 165°. (Shield turkey with foil if it browns too quickly.) Remove turkey from the oven; let stand 20 minutes. 


  1. wow! I dont think I would want ot have 16 people over anymore! but it is fun, once it is all said and done and especially if the meal was a success; that turkey with the herb stuffing sounds delish and so fragrant!

  2. Gorgeous turkey and beautiful words on the whole meaning of Thanksgiving. I'm up for a big celebration next year wherever we may be, but dang it, I can't get the idea of eating or making turducken as the star of the table. I have to make that one day!

  3. I made an entire Thanksgiving dinner the Saturday before Thanksgiving. 22 pound turkey and all the trimmings. Travis and I were the only ones eating it on Saturday but the leftovers are what I really make it for and the carcass to boil for turkey stock.

    If I don't do this each year we don't get enough leftovers to please my family. = )

    Nancy H. GR, MI

    Baked 4 pies as well. Today I'll bake banana bread.

  4. What a nice looking turkey. I have yet to make my own turkey... my mom always does that at our family Thanksgivings!

  5. I do love holiday turkeys. Yours looks great. It's been a while since I've served sixteen or more for dinner. You're right -- helpful guests make a huge difference!

  6. I'm so glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! That is definitely one gorgeous turkey!



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