along with everyone else, i decide each thanksgiving how to flavor my roasted turkey. over the years, i have tried many different recipes. i have come back to the standard herb roasting techniques many times, as i enjoy the fresh flavors from my own garden.
this thanksgiving, i went out to my herb garden and chose some fresh rosemary, thyme and sage, using the stems for both the platter garnish and to flavor my turkey.
for the herb roasted turkey, i begin with a fresh bird. all of the fresh turkeys are dated at the market, and by not purchasing a frozen bird, i save the step of thawing. i also look for a young turkey and one that has more of an abundance of white meat. the younger turkeys are smaller and the honeysuckle white brand stands behind their tender turkeys. i have never been disappointed.
next, i clean and wash the turkey in cold water, and add broth to the bottom of the roaster pan. i usually use about 2-3 cups of chicken broth made from bouillon cubes.
next, i slice the lemon, and add the herbs to the inner cavity of the turkey. i used one lemon for an 11 pound turkey and about 10 stalks of fresh cut thyme. i sprayed the turkey with olive oil and seasoned with organic turkey herbs thanksgiving blend, purchased from williams sonoma. i placed three large rosemary stalks and one large sage bundle next to the turkey in the roaster. as the turkey steams and roasts in the oven, these herbs lend aroma and flavor to the bird. i save the remaining herb stems for the garnish on the plate for presentation.
secure the wings and legs and turn the turkey over to roast upside down for the first hour to 1 1/2 hours. this technique keeps the white meat very moist and flavorful. i have covered the turkey for the first hour, and this works as well. cooking uncovered and in the presentation position for the remainder of the cooking process; the turkey will cook for about four hours total. i always use a meat thermometer and test the inner white meat to a temperature of 180 degrees. some books will say 165 degrees is adequate, and other say 185 degrees. so, i choose 180 and it has seemed to be safe. i watch the turkey the last hour and test about every 15 to 20 minutes. when done, remove from the oven, and slice for the platter.
i use a heavy metal armetale turkey platter, and return the cut turkey to the oven to keep warm, covered in foil. this gives me time to prepare and serve the rest of the meal. i reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.
thanksgiving turkey this year was flavorful and delicious.