Herb Roasted Turkey
Rubbing herb butter under the skin of the turkey gives you moist and flavorful meat.
- 1 12-14 pound turkey
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
- Kosher or fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 recipe Country Cornbread Dressing
- 4-5 lemons cut into wedges
Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 hour before you’re planning to roast. Remove the neck and giblets. Rinse the turkey inside and out and dry well with paper towels.
Move the oven rack to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Combine the butter with lemon zest, herbs, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Reserve ½ cup butter mixture for Easy Turkey Gravy.
Starting at the neck end, slide your hand between the skin and breast meat to loosen the skin. Rub half of the remaining herb butter under the skin. Season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper. If stuffing the turkey, loosely pack the neck and main cavity with dressing. Place the remainder of the dressing in a baking dish to cook separately. If cooking the turkey unstuffed, place the lemon wedges in both cavities. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan and slather the remaining herb butter all over the outside of the turkey. Season with more salt and pepper.
Roast the turkey for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF, pour the chicken stock into the pan, and tent the turkey with a piece of foil. Cook the turkey for another 3-3½ hours (unstuffed) or 3½-4 hours (stuffed), basting with the pan juices every 30 minutes. After 2½ hours, begin checking the temperature of the turkey by sticking an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. When the temperature reaches 175ºF, the turkey is ready (temperature will rise another 5ºF while resting). Remove the turkey from the oven, cover with foil, and let rest for 30 minutes before serving.
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