Basic Sage-Roasted Turkey
There are surely at least hundreds of ways to cook
a Thanksgiving/Christmas turkey but this recipe represents the most basic method used in the USA in that the primary
herb used is sage and the directions are easy to follow.
It's a simple, very flavorful recipe; if you've
never roasted a turkey before, this is a good place to start!
Note that a 12-pound turkey will serve about 8
people, estimating 1 pound per serving (this accounts for bone weight).
- 1 12-pound fresh or thawed frozen turkey
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
- Gravy (instructions below)
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted, or vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Fresh sage sprigs (optional)
Remove neck and giblets from turkey; rinse and
reserve to make gravy. Rinse turkey with cold water until water in the cavity runs clear, then pat dry with paper
Note: For hygenic reasons, do not stuff the
turkey until you're ready to start roasting it.
Heat oven to 325 degrees F. In large shallow roasting pan, place turkey, breast side up, on wire rack. Loosely fill neck cavity of turkey with stuffing; skewer skin to back. Tuck wing tips under shoulder
joints. Spoon remaining stuffing loosely into body cavity. If you pack it in too tightly it will
If cavity opening has a band of skin across it
or a plastic strip, push ends of drumsticks under it. Otherwise, tie drumstick ends securely together with string.
Brush turkey with butter or oil. Sprinkle with chopped sage and salt. If there is not a little pop-up thing in
the turkey's breast to tell you when it's done, insert meat thermometer into center of inside thigh muscle, making
sure not to touch bone.
Tear off sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil 2 to 3 inches longer than the turkey, then place tent style over turkey.
Pinch foil lightly at legs to anchor.
Roast turkey 3 1/2 to 4 hours, basting occasionally with pan drippings, or until thermometer registers 180 degrees
F and drumstick moves easily. Stuffing should register 165 degrees F. Remove sheet of foil after 2 1/2 hours of
roasting if turkey is not as brown as desired.
Meanwhile, prepare gravy while turkey is roasting. When turkey is done, transfer to serving platter; cover loosely
with foil and keep warm. You should let it rest at least 15 minutes to 1/2 hour to allow juices to soak into the
meat so the juices don't run out when you carve it.
While turkey rests, finish making gravy. Garnish
turkey and platter with sage leaves, if desired. Carve turkey and serve with gravy and stuffing.
Two hours before turkey is done heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil or butter over medium heat in 4-quart saucepan. Add
reserved neck and giblets from Step 1 and cook until well browned, stirring occasionally. (If desired, wrap and
freeze the liver for another use.) Stir 1 small white or yellow onion, chopped, 1 carrot, sliced, and 1 bay leaf
into neck and giblets; add enough water to cover. Heat to boiling over high heat; reduce heat to low, cover, and
simmer 1 hour to make broth.
When turkey has been transferred to platter, skim
off all but 3 tablespoons fat from drippings in roasting pan. Strain the broth from the cooked neck, giblets, and
vegetables through a large sieve into a large measuring cup or bowl. Discard the particles in the sieve. Measure
4 cups broth. If there is not enough, add water or canned chicken broth. If there is too much, reserve for another
use. Set broth aside.
Into the roasting pan with the reserved 3 tablespoons
fat, stir 1/3 cup unsifted all-purpose flour until well mixed. Gradually stir in broth and cook over medium-low
heat until thickened and bubbly. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Pour some gravy
into a small pitcher; replenish as necessary.
Makes 4 cups.