Herb-Roasted Turkey

Here it is.  The star.  The big kahuna of the Thanksgiving meal.  All eyes are on this bird!


1 fresh or previously frozen turkey (I used 12lbs as we were a small group of 4 adults and 2 small kids)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 Tbs turkey herbs (From Williams-Sonoma that I am convinced I paid too much money for, in too big of a container.  I’ll research and have a reasonable priced alternative by next Thanksgiving)
1 bay leaf
8 Tbs (or 1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used salted butter and omitted the “salt to taste” up above.  Yes, I know if I used unsalted butter, I’d be using less salt.  Just not wanting to by different butter than I use every day.)
¾ cup turkey or chicken stock (I used chicken stock)
½ cup Madeira wine (I just used more chicken stock)


Let turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 325°.  (A friend of mine convinced me, years ago, to buy a roasting oven.  It frees up so much oven space for the other dishes.  While I was totally convinced, I ended up at Target a few days after Thanksgiving and ended up buying a Rival 20 Quart Roasting Oven on clearance.  Can I just say: Best. Purchase. EVER.  I only use it a couple of times a year and store it in 2 large trash bags in the garage.  But so worth it.  SO love it!)

Remove the giblets and neck and reserve for making gravy, if desired.  Rinse the turkey, inside and out, with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.  Season the turkey, inside and out, with salt and pepper.  Place 2 tbs of the herbs and the bay leaf inside the body cavity.  If desired, truss the turkey with twine.  Spread 2 Tbs of butter between the skin and meat of turkey.  Rub approximately 2 Tbs olive oil over outside of turkey and sprinkle with remaining turkey herbs.  Transfer to oven or roasting oven.

In small saucepan over low heat, melt remaining 6 Tbs butter and stock (with Madeira, if using).  After 30 minutes of roasting, begin basting the turkey with butter mixture.  Continue roasting, basting every 30 minutes until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast (away from bone)registers 165°, and inserted in thigh registers 175°.  If breast begins to cook to quickly, tent loosely with aluminum foil.  Total roasting time for this small turkey was about 3 ½ hours.

Transfer turkey to warmed platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil and lest rest about 20 minutes before carving.

*Derived from Williams-Sonoma

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