Herbed butter under the skin creates a luscious Thanksgiving bird, while sherry and cream enrich the gravy. Start with a well-heated oven, and give the turkey 12 minutes of cooking for each pound. If you’re starting with a frozen turkey, make sure it’s fully (and safely) defrosted by allowing it to come back to life slowly in the fridge for 3 to 4 days before you plan to roast it. We recommend pairing with Apple Stuffing.
Special equipment: For this recipe you will need a large roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack, a brush or turkey baster, and a meat thermometer.
- Yield: 8 servings
- Difficulty: Medium
- Total: 3 hrs
- Active: 30 mins
For the turkey:
- 1 (12- to 15-pound) fresh turkey
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped winter savory, marjoram, or rosemary
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped thyme leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small white onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 celery stalk, halved crosswise
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
For the gravy:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, savory, or marjoram
- 6 leaves sage, roughly torn
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- 20 leaves Italian parsley
- 3/4 cup dry sherry
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
For the turkey:
- Heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the lower third. Remove the turkey’s giblets and neck, then rinse out the cavity and pat dry with paper towels.
- In a small bowl, mix the butter and herbs until well combined. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Loosen the skin on the turkey’s breast and distribute butter evenly under it. Season the turkey’s cavity with salt and pepper and put the onion, celery, lemon, and garlic inside.
- Place the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan and place in the oven. Roast the turkey for 30 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F. Baste the bird with pan drippings every 45 minutes. Continue to roast until the internal temperature of an inner thigh reaches 155°F (measure the temperature on the inside of the thigh, and make sure the thermometer is not touching the bone). Cover with aluminum foil if the turkey becomes too brown.
- Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest uncovered at least 30 minutes before carving.
For the gravy:
- While the turkey rests, prepare the gravy. Make a blond roux by melting butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Immediately add the flour and whisk continuously until well combined. Cook until the flour loses its raw flavor and turns golden, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the chicken broth until the mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the temperature to low heat.
- Transfer the turkey to a platter and pour off excess fat from the roasting pan, reserving 1 tablespoon in the pan. Place the pan on the stovetop over medium heat. When the pan juices are hot, add the herbs and fry, about 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with sherry and scrape up browned bits with a flat spatula.
- Increase the heat to medium and simmer. Add the sherry mixture and whisk to combine. Whisk in the heavy cream and simmer to thicken slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.