Turkey is the star of many Thanksgiving meals across the nation. It can be tricky to cook, especially the first time when many first-time Thanksgiving chefs are nervous. Follow my special recipe for turkey below and you're guaranteed a delicious bird the whole family will enjoy!
Rubbing the meat under the skin of the turkey with a flavorful paste of herbs, garlic, and prosciutto and letting it marinate in the refrigerator overnight ensures that it stays juicy as it roasts. Garnish the platter of sliced turkey with big branches of fresh rosemary and sage.
The size of the turkey will determine the number of servings. I would figure on 1 pound of uncooked turkey per person.
8 - 12 pounds (2 - 4 people): 2 3/4 - 3 hours
12 - 16 pounds (5 - 7 people): 3 1/2 - 4 hours
16 - 20 pounds (8 - 10 people): 4 1/4 - 4 3/4 hours
20 - 24 pounds (11 - 13 people): 4 1/2 - 5 hours
Rosanna's Special Thanksgiving Turkey
3 large sprigs fresh rosemary, stemmed
15 large leaves fresh sage
8 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
4 slices prosciutto
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 organic, hormone-free turkey, preferably free-range, cleaned, giblets removed
1 large carrot
1 rib celery
Fine sea salt
- Put the rosemary, safe, 5 cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon of coarse salt, and the prosciutto on a board and mince them together. Drizzle the olive oil over the mixture and mince until the mixture is a thick paste.
- Place the turkey in a large stainless-steel, porcelain, or ovenproof glass roasting pan. Gently pull up the skin near the cavity and rub small spoonfuls of the herb mixture under the skin, pushing it all the way to the back of the breast. Make sure the breast is totally covered with the herb mixture. Put a heaping tablespoon of the mixture in the cavity of the turkey and rub it all over the inside. Put the carrot, onion, celery, and remaining 3 cloves of garlic in the cavity and sprinkle with the 1 teaspoon coarse salt. (The carrot and celery should be whole when inserted in the cavity with the half onion.)
- Rub the remaining mixture all over the top (breast) and bottom (back) of the turkey, as well as the legs. Generously season with fine salt all over the turkey and drizzle with more oil. Let the turkey marinate overnight.
- The next day (Thanksgiving), preheat the oven to 475 degrees fahrenheit.
- Roast for 20 - 25 minutes to brown the turkey. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degree fahrenheit and roast until the meat between the breast and leg registers 170 degrees fahrenheit and the thigh 180 on an instant-read meat thermometer, basting the turkey often with the pan juices to ensure a juicy turkey. The turkey is done when the drumstick moves easily and the juices run clear, not pink. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with aluminum foil that does not touch the turkey, for at least 30 minutes before carving.
- Make the gravy (recipe below), if desired, then slice the turkey and serve.
If your turkey-roasting pan isn't flameproof, transfer the drippings to a saucepan to make the gravy.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Drippings from turkey, clear fat skimmed off
1/2 cup dry white wine
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, then whisk in the flour. Cook the roux, whisking frequently, until the butter is a shade darker, but not browned - about 1 minute.
- Whisk the roux into the drippings in the roasting pan or another saucepan set over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the roux is incorporated into the drippings. Add the wine and cook until the liquid is reduced by three-quarters.
- Taste and add more salt if necessary.
- Serve in a sauceboat and drizzle the sliced turkey with the gravy before serving.