I have spent years looking for the best turkey recipe for Thanksgiving dinner. I have struggled to find a recipe that keeps the turkey moist while still allowing the skin to turn a lovely shade of golden brown. I have tried injecting the bird with different mixtures, rubbing it down with oils, and stuffing it with super moist stuffing. Nothing works well enough and I can’t stand dry turkey.
Last year was different. I turned out a turkey that was not only moist, but also golden brown and I was able to turn the “stuffing” into a side dish. I did not use bread stuffing, instead I used root vegetables. Here is how I prepared the best Thanksgiving Turkey ever!
I started by slicing the vegetables into 3 inch pieces or wedges. I used celery, carrots, onions, and potatoes. I added 2 to 3 tablespoons of melted butter and 1 tablespoon rubbed sage then mixed to ensure the vegetables were evenly coated with butter and sage. I then stuffed the veggies into the bird and pinned up the flap of skin at each end of the bird to ensure the vegetables would not fall out.
After moving the turkey into a roasting pan I rubbed it down with butter. I used an entire stick of butter on this bird! I then sprinkled ground sage and a little rosemary on top. Next pour 2 cups turkey broth into the roasting pan and cover the entire affair with aluminum foil. Bake the bird at 375 until it reaches 165 degrees. Depending on the size of your bird cooking times will vary. Usually a 15 lb turkey takes 3 to 3 ½ hours to cook completely.
Leave the bird sealed inside the roasting pan for the first two hours and don’t open it! After two hours I baste the turkey with the drippings in the pan. I continue basting every 20 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. For the last 45 to 30 minutes of cook time remove the aluminum foil to allow the skin to turn a nice shade of golden brown. If the skin begins to brown too quickly you can replace the foil so do not throw it away until the bird is done cooking!
Allow the turkey to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. I keep mine on the stovetop (assuming there is room!) or next to it mostly because I think it helps keep the skin warm. I can’t support this thought with facts, but it makes me feel better and keeps my families fingers out!
I remove the vegetables prior to carving the turkey. I simply place them into a decorative bowl and serve them as a side dish. They taste great due to the sage, butter, and turkey drippings they get while baking. The turkey receives and keeps a lot of its moisture from the vegetables, as well as a unique flavor in the meat.
Anyone can make this recipe. It is easy for first time cooks to put together a great looking spread that will impress friends and family alike! Use the dripping from the bird to make flavorful gravy, and use the turkey bones to make a great stock that freezes beautifully. There is no part of the bird that need go to waste!