Mother Earth Living

Savor the Flavors of Fall: Roasted Heritage Turkey with Herbs

By Vicki Mattern
October/November 2007
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Makes 6 to 8 servings plus leftovers

Start with a fresh or completely thawed turkey. (Thaw in the refrigerator, one to three days before cooking, depending on the size of the turkey.) If you choose to stuff the turkey, do it just before roasting to avoid the risk of contamination. Serve with gravy made from the vegetable- and herb-flavored broth left in the roasting pan.

• 8- to 12-pound turkey
• Salt and pepper
• 2  teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
• 1  teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
• 5 or 6 whole sage leaves
• 3 or 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 1  large carrot, diced
• 1  onion, chopped
• 2  stalks celery, diced
• 3  cups chicken broth (or turkey broth, if available)
• 4  ounces soft butter
• Sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme and sage
• 1½ tablespoons cornstarch
• 3  tablespoons cold water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove giblets from turkey, then rinse and pat it dry. Season inside and out with salt and pepper. Carefully slide your hand between the skin and the breast and leg meat, then tuck thyme, rosemary, sage and garlic under the skin.

Stuff the bird loosely (see Savory Butternut Squash Stuffing). Before placing the turkey in the roasting pan, add the diced carrots, onions, celery and sprigs of fresh herbs. Place turkey in pan on top of vegetables, then add broth. Rub turkey breast and legs with butter. Roast uncovered, basting occasionally, for approximately 2½ to 3 hours (a stuffed turkey takes longer to cook), or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees on a meat thermometer. Allow turkey to rest 20 minutes before carving.

For gravy, remove herb sprigs from broth. Allow broth to cool slightly, then skim off some of the excess fat. In a medium saucepan, heat remaining broth and pan scrapings. Meanwhile, dissolve cornstarch in cold water; add mixture to hot broth, stirring until broth thickens. Use a handheld blender to puree the vegetables and finish the gravy.

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