Herbed Roast Turkey

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Herbed Roast Turkey
From Chuck Williams' Thanksgiving & Christmas (Canada, UK).

Seek out a fresh rather than a frozen turkey. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before roasting, to bring to room temperature.


12 to 14 lb (6 to 7 kg) turkey, at room temperature
1 yellow onion, quartered
2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) lengths
3 or 4 fresh parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon dried sage
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
salt and freshly ground pepper
6 tablespoons (3 oz/90 g) unsalted butter, melted


Preheat an oven to 425F (220C). Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Oil a V-shaped rack in a roasting pan.

Remove the neck, gizzard and heart from the turkey, if included; reserve for another use. Rinse the bird in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place the onion, celery, parsley and bay leaf in the cavity. In a small bowl mix together the sage, thyme and marjoram. Place 2 teaspoons of the mixture in the cavity, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Truss the turkey, if desired; brush with some of the butter and sprinkle, especially the breast and thighs, with the remaining herb mixture and salt and pepper.

Place on the rack in the pan, breast-side down. Roast for 40 minutes, basting with butter after 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325F (165C), turn breast-side up and continue to roast, basting with the remaining butter until used up and then with the pan juices every 15 to 20 minutes. Roast until golden and cooked through. After about 2-1/2 hours, start testing for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the breast away from the bone; it should register 165F (74C). Alternatively, insert it in the thickest part of the thigh; it should register 180F (82C)). The turkey should roast a total of about 3-1/2hours or 15 to 17 minutes per pound (500 g).

Transfer to a warmed platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil until ready to carve, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, use the pan juices to make the gravy. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

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