I love Thanksgiving, it is one of my favorite holidays. I didn’t grow up with this tradition in Iceland, but when I was in college in Alabama, and then later living in New York, I began and continued celebrating Thanksgiving. I always get the honor of cooking the turkey and necessary side dishes on Thanksgiving, so with practice it has become a pleasurable occasion for me rather than a stressful one. For the last three years we have been invited to join our good friends in upstate New York and I have cooked up a feast for 20 – 30 close friends and family. Cooking for hours for my family and friends and every now and then watching the game with my son is just precious. Here is my take on a traditional Thanksgiving turkey. Hope you enjoy and hope you have a lot to be thankful for.
||3.5 - 4 hours
||4 hours 40 minutes
YIELD: 6-8 servings
- Whole Turkey 10-12 lbs.
- 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 yellow onions, peeled and roughly chopped (reserve 1 one onion to stuff the turkey)
- 4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 1 apple, cut into rough cubes
- 1 oz fresh thyme
- 1 oz fresh rosemary
- 1 oz fresh sage
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 sticks butter (two at room temp for herb butter and one cold for stuffing the turkey)
- Salt and ground pepper
How to Make It
- Make sure the turkey is fully thawed (recommend thawing in the refrigerator overnight)
- Remove the turkey from the fridge at least an hour before cooking to let it come to room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
- With a paper towel pat the turkey dry, remove the giblets and neck from the inside, don’t throw away the giblets and neck (these can be used to make gravy), clean and pat dry inside the cavity of the turkey
- Finely chop half of the fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary and sage) and put into a mixing bowl with 2 sticks of room temperature butter, minced garlic, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly.
- Season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper (1/2 tsp of each)
- Stuff the cavity with lemon, apple, one roughly chopped onion, one stick of cold butter (cut into pieces) and the rest of the fresh herbs
- Loosen and lift up the skin above the breast and distribute and smooth two tablespoons of the herb butter between the breast and the skin
- Tuck the wings of the turkey underneath the turkey
- In a large roasting pan, add one cup water, 2 roughly chopped onions, chopped carrots and celery, and place the turkey on top of the vegetables breast side up
- Spread the remaining herb butter all over the outside of the turkey (if butter is a bit stiff you can soften it for 2-3 seconds in the microwave)
- Put a thermometer into the thickest part of the breast
- Roast at 325F for about 12-14 minutes per pound. Once the skin of the breast has become golden brown you want to cover (just the breast, not thighs) with a sheet of aluminum foil. This is done so the dark meat (thighs) can “catch up” with the white meat (breast).
- Every now and then check on the turkey and add a cup of water to the roasting pan if the liquid has evaporated
- The turkey is ready once the internal temperature of the breast reaches 165 degrees and the thighs reach 175 degrees, but please note that the turkey continues to cook after you take it out of the oven which means it can cook 5-10 degrees after you take it out. It’s best to undercook it a bit and have to put it back in the oven rather than cooking it until the desired temperature only to have it continue to cook and become dry. My recommendation is to take out the turkey when the temperature of the white meat (breast) reaches around 155-157 degrees and the dark meat (thighs) reaches around 165-167 degrees.
- Take the turkey out of the oven and cover the pan with aluminum foil and let it rest for about 30 minutes before carving
- Use the cooked vegetables and juices from the roasting pan, butter, and flour to make a perfect gravy for the turkey. Look for my recipe on Instagram.
- Carve the turkey and enjoy….Happy Thanksgiving