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Easy Turkey Recipe

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10-12 lb turkey, fresh or frozen and fully thawed

2 Tbsp coarse salt (I used pink Himalayan salt) 

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 lemon, zest removed and reserved

2 cloves garlic

1 Tbsp minced parsley

1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon minced fresh sage

1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme, plus several sprigs

1 small onion

3 stalks celery

2 carrots, peeled

1 apple, cored

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup mirin rice wine (or white wine) 

Optional: Black or white pepper

Garnishes for serving: sliced citrus, fresh herbs, and fresh cranberries


1.) Prep the turkey: 24 to 48 hours in advance of when you plan to cook the turkey, dry the turkey with paper towels. Remove the giblets. Save those to make gravy. Place a small rack in a roasting pan that will fit in your refrigerator. Or you can use a small baking sheet. Place the turkey on top of the rack. Tuck the wings underneath the turkey.

2) Dry brine the turkey: In a small bowl, combine the salt and brown sugar. Stir well. I didn’t add any pepper but feel free to add some black or white pepper to taste. Sprinkle this mixture all over the turkey as well as inside the cavity. Gently press the salt-sugar mixture into the skin. Place the prepared turkey, uncovered, in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours. This will help to dry out the skin, resulting in a nicely browned turkey with tender meat. NOTE: On the day you will be roasting the turkey, take the dry brined turkey out of the refrigerator to rest at room temperature for one hour prior to roasting. 

3.) Prepare the herbed butter: Place the softened butter in a small bowl. Add the lemon zest, garlic, minced parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme. Stir together.

4.) Prep the vegetables and apple: Cut the onion into big chunks. Slice the celery and carrots into 1-inch pieces. Chop the cored apple into big chunks. Set aside a handful of the chopped onion and a few pieces of apple to stuff inside the turkey. 

5.) Preheat the oven: Ten minutes before you plan to roast the turkey, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

6.) Prepare the roasting pan: On the bottom of the roasting pan, place the chopped onion, celery, carrots and apple. Place the roasting pan rack on top. Add the chicken broth and mirin rice wine. Then place the turkey on top. Stuff the inside of the turkey with ½ of the lemon, a few sprigs of the thyme, a handful of chopped onion and a few chunks of the apple.

7.) Butter the turkey: Use a silicone brush to lightly brush the outside of the turkey with some of the herbed butter, especially the turkey breast and legs. Reserve most of the butter to use underneath the skin. Use your fingers and/or a small spatula to release the turkey breast skin from the flesh. Now spread the butter under the skin on both sides. Spread any remaining butter over the turkey.

8.)  Roast the turkey: Lightly cover the prepared turkey with a sheet of parchment paper and a sheet of aluminum foil (or just foil). Place the turkey in the oven and roast for 13 minutes per pound. Increase the time to 15 minutes per pound if you fill the cavity with stuffing instead of the apple, onion, thyme and lemon. Cooking times may vary and I have sometimes had to cook turkey longer than the recommended cooking time after checking the internal temperature with an oven thermometer. Always go by the thermometer reading and make sure it reaches 165 degrees F. in three different places. Check the joint between the thigh and body, the thickest part of the breast and the joint between the thigh and the drumstick. If it doesn’t, roast the turkey longer until it reaches 165 degrees F.


Serving suggestions: Once the turkey is finished, remove from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes. Transfer the cooked turkey to a serving platter to carve. Save any drippings on the bottom of the roasting pan to use to make gravy. Garnish the turkey by surrounding it with sliced citrus, fresh herbs, and fresh cranberries. Serve with gravy. 

  • Category: Dinner
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