Nov 14
2011

Roasted Turkey with Herb Butter & Roasted Shallots Recipe

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Roasted-Turkey-with-Herb-Butter-&-Roasted-Shallots-Recipe-Cookin-Canuck

Please tell me that some of you were completely freaked out the first time you had to roast a turkey without the help of your mum or grandmother. I know I was. Sure, I had watched my mum and mother-in-law work their holiday magic on many turkeys in previous years. I kind of helped them – you know, smearing a little butter on the drumsticks, basting with the drippings. However, if someone asked my opinion on whether or not the turkey was cooked through, I threw up my hands and referred them to the wiser cooks in the kitchen. And then came the time when I had to do it all on my own. It was one of the first Thanksgivings after my husband and I were married and I knew I had to bite the bullet. The true meaning of the holiday flew out the door as I obsessed over whether I was going to poison our guests with an underdone turkey.

In an effort to avoid repeating the Christmas dinner scene from the Griswold’s Christmas dinner in Christmas Vacation (you know, when the turkey explodes in a puff because it is so overdone), I sat down to do some serious research. Calls were made to my parents for turkey roasting instructions and the recipe for my dad’s famous stuffing, the Butterball hotline was put on speed dial and I made sure to buy a turkey with one of those “thermometers” embedded in the turkey that are supposed to pop out when the bird is done. (Note to self: Never EVER lay your trust in a little plastic doo-hickey to determine the fate of your holiday entree.)

RoastedTurkeyShallots1

And then I came across this recipe in Bon Appetit Magazine. It has become our go-to recipe, one that gives us perfect results every time. What makes it so magical? Well, it starts with the butter mixture, packed full of fresh sage, thyme and parsley, that is smeared under the skin and over the surface of the turkey. What really pushes this recipe over the top, however, are the rich, dark brown drippings that come from a mixture of the turkey juices and the shallots roasting in the bottom of the pan. Basting with these juices helps to produce golden brown, crispy skin on the outside of the turkey.

Serve the roasted shallots alongside the turkey for an unexpected flavor treat. Be sure to use those drippings (skimmed of fat) and the browned shallot bits on the bottom of the pan to make some of the best gravy you may ever taste. I know the gravy is meant for the mashed potatoes but, seriously, I could drink the stuff. Be sure to check out How to Make Gravy: Recipe & Troubleshooting for more tips.

Happy roasting!

The recipe:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together softened butter, sage, thyme and parsley until well combined.

Roasted Turkey Shalllots Collage 1

Remove the neck and other innards from the turkey cavity. Season the cavity with salt and pepper.  Place the carrot, celery and onion quarters into the cavity of the turkey.  Tie the turkey legs together and tuck the wings underneath the turkey, using small skewers to secure, if necessary.

Starting at the neck end, slide your hands under the breast skin to loosen. Smear 3 tablespoons of the herb butter underneath the breast skin. Smear another 4 tablespoons of the herb butter over the entire topside of the turkey.

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Place the turkey in the roasting pan, breast side up.  Scatter the shallots around the turkey, on the bottom of the roasting pan.  Cover the breasts with foil and place the turkey in the oven. Roast the turkey for 1 1/2 hours, basting it with 1/2 cup chicken broth every 30 minutes.

Remove the foil from the breast. If you find that the legs are browning too much, cover each drumstick with foil. Roast the turkey until a thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh (be sure not to hit the bone) registers 170 degrees F, basting every 30 minutes with the pan drippings, about 1 hour total.

The dark color of the drippings comes from the roasted shallots in the bottom of the pan. The flavor is unbelievably good.

RoastedTurkeyShallots5

Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer it to a platter, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving. Remove the carrot, celery and onion from the cavity and discard.

Remove the shallots from the pan and serve with the gravy. Use the remaining brown bits on the bottom of the pan and the remaining herb butter to make the gravy. See How to Make Gravy: Recipe & Troubleshooting.

RoastedTurkeyShallots6

Other roast turkey recipes:
She Wears Many Hats’ Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey
Savour Fare’s Dry Brined Roast Turkey
Culinary Covers’ Spice-Rubbed Roast Turkey
The Hungry Mouse The Angry Chef’s Whisky Glazed Roasted Turkey

RoastedTurkeyShallotsLS

Roasted Turkey with Herb Butter & Roasted Shallots

Yield: Serves 10

From the kitchen of Cookin Canuck. Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 15-to-16 pound turkey
  • Salt and pepper to season cavity
  • 1 1/4 lb. shallots, peeled and cut in half through the root
  • 1 carrot, unpeeled
  • 1 large celery stalk, cut in half crosswise
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 cups (approximately) chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together softened butter, sage, thyme and parsley until well combined.
  3. Remove the neck and other innards from the turkey cavity. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Place the carrot, celery and onion quarters into the cavity of the turkey.
  4. Tie the turkey legs together and tuck the wings underneath the turkey, using small skewers to secure, if necessary.
  5. Starting at the neck end, slide your hands under the breast skin to loosen. Smear 3 tablespoons of the herb butter underneath the breast skin. Smear another 4 tablespoons of the herb butter over the entire topside of the turkey.
  6. Place the turkey in the roasting pan, breast side up. Scatter the shallots around the turkey, on the bottom of the roasting pan.
  7. Cover the breasts with foil and place the turkey in the oven. Roast the turkey for 2 hours, basting it with 1/2 cup chicken broth every 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the foil from the breast. If you find that the legs are browning too much, cover each drumstick with foil. Roast the turkey until a thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh (be sure not to hit the bone) registers 170 degrees F, basting every 30 minutes with the pan drippings, about 1 hour total.
  9. Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer it to a platter, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
  10. Remove the carrot, celery and onion from the cavity and discard.
  11. Remove the shallots from the pan and serve with the gravy. Use the remaining brown bits on the bottom of the pan and the remaining herb butter to make the gravy.

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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jessica @ How Sweet November 14, 2011 at 4:20 am

I think this is my favorite turkey recipe that I’ve seen so far. Delicious!

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2 Yuri - Chef Pandita November 14, 2011 at 4:27 am

This turkey looks amazing! I must confess I’ve never roasted a turkey before. Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated in the Caribbean and turkey isn’t that popular here. This year I’m celebrating with my best friend’s family [she's flying from Miami with her boyfriend for turkey day] and I offered to bring pie :)

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3 Sprigs of Rosemary November 14, 2011 at 4:56 am

I well remember my first turkey! Although it turned out well (the sweet potatoes rolled on the floor) I can’t believe I did that at the tender age of 24 and the whole fam-damily came! I wish I would have had this recipe then, though. And if I was in your kitchen, I’d be having a toast with the gravy! Can’t wait to try those shallots.

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4 Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray November 14, 2011 at 6:41 am

Yum! I’m coming to your place for Thanksgiving!

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5 Carrie S. November 14, 2011 at 6:58 am

This looks delicious. We are having Thanksgiving at the in-laws this year, but I always make my own turkey later in the weekend because I love the leftovers and process.

By the way, if it makes you (or anyone) feel better; the first time I made a turkey on my own, I left the packet of livers, gizzard & neck, inside the cavity. I had no idea they were even there until we cut into it. Not a nice surprise!

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6 Sommer@ASpicyPerspective November 14, 2011 at 7:40 am

That is one gorgeous bird! I just Know it tastes as good as it looks. :)

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7 Deborah November 14, 2011 at 8:10 am

I still have never had to make my own turkey. I’ve done breasts before, but never the whole bird! This one sounds fabulous – especially those shallots!

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8 naomi November 14, 2011 at 8:21 am

I love the sage and thyme together-I’ve never tried the additionof parsley. I can’t wait to try it.

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9 Bev Weidner November 14, 2011 at 8:29 am

I really just want to lick that turkey clean.

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10 Tracey November 14, 2011 at 8:33 am

Did I miss something when it said to put the carrots in the cavity? Do you remove them after the bird is done?

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11 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) November 14, 2011 at 8:38 am

Thanks for catching that omission, Tracey. Yes, you want to remove the carrot, celery and onions from the cavity and discard them. I made the change in the post to reflect that.

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12 Tracey November 14, 2011 at 9:24 am

Thanks! So you put the onion, carrots, and celery in with the salt and pepper. Then, do you just put the shallots in the bottom of the roaster?

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13 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) November 14, 2011 at 11:21 am

Exactly! Sprinkle a good pinch each of salt and pepper into the cavity and then fill with the onion, carrot and celery. The shallots just sit on the bottom of the roasting pan. Let me know if you have any other questions.

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14 Rosie @ Sweetapolita November 14, 2011 at 8:37 am

Dara, this looks incredible, and your photos are amazing. Yes, I was definitely freaked out the first time I had to make a turkey on my own, which was just 3 years ago :). I was hosting Christmas dinner for my family at our house for the first time, and it was indeed scary! It did work out well, but this recipe looks even a bit more interesting yet simple-not-scary. I’d like to give this a try next month when I host again. Gorgeous!

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15 Lauren from Lauren's Latest November 14, 2011 at 9:04 am

Oh yum! I’m so ready for Thanksgiving!

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16 TheFromagette November 14, 2011 at 9:45 am

That’s a gorgeous bird!!!

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17 Belinda @zomppa November 14, 2011 at 11:02 am

Seeing how as my mom doesn’t know how to cook, I had to figure out on my own! Beautiful bird – you are so ready for Thanksgiving!

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18 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel November 14, 2011 at 11:21 am

Love this! I’m not in charge of Thanksgiving but I’ll definitely be trying this sometime. I did something similar with a chicken once and SO yummy.

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19 Barbara | Creative Culinary November 14, 2011 at 11:28 am

I used to make a different turkey recipe every year until I tried the one that is our tried and true and guess what? Also from Bon Appetit and though a bit different, it also has a sage butter that is rubbed under the skin. We seriously never have dried out breast meat. You cover your breast meat with foil…I know, it’s sinful but I cover mine with bacon. Either way…it makes for a moist turkey without the need for brining and I”m good with that.

Looks gorgeous Dara. I agreed to go somewhere else for Thanksgiving this year and just found they don’t do turkey. How can that even be called Thanksgiving?

I saw the Canadian in you a bit I think. Mum? So charming.

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20 Deena@StayatHomeFOODIE November 14, 2011 at 12:33 pm

MMMM… there is nothing better than herbed butter baked turkey. Delish!

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21 Nichol November 14, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I will totally admit to being freaked out my first Thanksgiving. I had all sorts of crazy things running through my mind. Luckily I had the internet to help! Now it’s a breeze. Your turkey looks amazing. All these roasted turkey recipes are making want a turkey!

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22 KalynsKitchen November 14, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Gorgeous photo of the finished turkey, yum!

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23 Katherine Martinelli November 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm

This turkey is absolutely picture perfect!!! I can’t imagine a more beautiful looking bird. Definitely making this, thanks!

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24 Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet November 14, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Your birdy looks fantastic Dara!! Seeing this post is making me thankful that Thanksgiving is only just over a week away! I love mixing fresh herbs and butter for my bird too. So flavorful and yum! Great work!

Heather

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25 Annalise November 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Such a beautiful turkey! You’re right, roasting a turkey on your own for the first time is way scary, maybe that’s why I’ve never done it! But you make it look so easy. Yum, I wish it was Thanksgiving today. :)

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26 Jersey Girl Cooks November 14, 2011 at 5:01 pm

This turkey looks like it is cooked perfectly! I left the bag of insides in the turkey the first time I cooked one…lol.

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27 Ashley@BakerbyNature November 14, 2011 at 7:34 pm

You are my hero right now! My mum just informed me I would be manning the bird this year. Dessert is usually my bag… turkey scares me. You will be joining me in the kitchen on Thanksgiving in the form of this recipe! Thanks a million :)

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28 Kiran @ KiranTarun.com November 14, 2011 at 8:26 pm

I’ve never roasted turkey or anything whole like this before. I am a little scared, but need to throw caution into the wind and just give this a try!

That bird looks delicious, Dara :D

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29 Maria November 15, 2011 at 2:24 am

The bird looks perfect!

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30 Frank November 15, 2011 at 5:33 am

The bird looks gorgeous and you’re absolutely right. Those so called thermometers are not to be trusted. Sure fire way to overcook your turkey! Thanks for these great tips!

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31 brandi November 15, 2011 at 7:07 am

what a gorgeous turkey!

i have to admit: i’ve roasted a LOT of chicken, but I still have never roasted my own turkey.

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32 Monet November 15, 2011 at 7:51 am

I still freak out! But this, my dear, sounds too good. I just posted some soft knotted rolls that would go perfectly with this! Thank you for sharing with me. I wish we could all have a feast together! Much love and many blessings.

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33 Tickled Red November 15, 2011 at 10:23 am

Gorgeous turkey with great flavors! I’m not going to make it to Thanksgiving with all of these fabulous teasers ;D

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34 HeatherChristo November 15, 2011 at 10:23 am

What a beautiful bird! Can’t wait for Thanksgiving!

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35 Lynn November 15, 2011 at 10:34 am

Now I am really hungry and want turkey! This looks so good.

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36 Curt November 15, 2011 at 10:37 am

Wow, could this possibly look anymore perfect than this? The answer would be NO! What a beautiful looking turkey.

You’ve obviously come a long way since the first time you did it without your mom!

You’re right, no little plastic doo-hickey! Consider this one pinned!

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37 Squash Blossom Babies November 15, 2011 at 11:02 am

Looks great! I love herb butter on roasted turkey and chicken!

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38 Nutmeg Nanny November 15, 2011 at 11:08 am

This turkey looks unbelievably delicious! All that crispy skin would make me one very happy camper!

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39 Jeanette November 15, 2011 at 11:15 am

Now that is a perfectly roasted turkey! Although I like to tinker with recipes, I always love a foolproof recipe.

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40 Chris @ TheKeenanCookBook November 15, 2011 at 11:25 am

Now thats a good looking turkey! I chuckled when I read about your concern of having the turkey end up like the one in Christmas Vacation – that was exactly how I felt when I first hosted Thanksgiving. Many calls to Mom to make sure I was “doing it right”. Thanks for sharing this beautiful recipe!

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41 Liz November 15, 2011 at 11:37 am

Turkey perfection, Dara! I’m trying a new brine this year, but I’m copying your recipe for another holiday!

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42 Delishhh November 15, 2011 at 11:37 am

Oh Dara just goregous – and reading this was funny and so informative. The funny thing is that i never grew up with turkey but first time i did it i treated it as big chicken LOL – i like to brine my chicken so i did that to the turkey, sometimes i stuff my chicken, but i read up on all these options and it went well. But unfortunatly i am not a big fan of turkey, i still make it every thanksigivng but i also do ribs and the ribs always go first :)

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43 Kim Beaulieu November 15, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Okay you had me at shallots. My all time fave thing to cook with. So under-rated in so many kitchens. I am going to try this out. I know we already had our Canuck Thanksgiving but I think I am going to adopt an American blogger for the holidays so I can celebrate again. I’m trying this on chicken too. Thanks for this. I was already a fan, this may have pushed me into stalker mode. Have a great week Dara.

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44 Lana @ Never Enough Thyme November 15, 2011 at 2:30 pm

What a beautiful turkey, Dara! I especially like the idea of the roasted shallots and can just imagine how well they flavor the gravy. I’m going to steal some of your ideas for my turkey next Thursday :-)

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45 Jen at The Three Little Piglets November 15, 2011 at 3:12 pm

I was the same exact way! I figured the turkey would be all right, but I could not for the life of me figure out how to time everything else so that it would all be done at the same time. And I had no idea you had to let the turkey rest before you cut it. So all the juices ran out and it carryover cooked a teeny bit too long! 15 years later we still laugh about it! Live and learn, right?

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46 Donna November 15, 2011 at 5:06 pm

No, Dara – you are not alone. I too have memories of my first (and very dry) Thanksgiving bird. Yours is a beautiful sight to behold with that translucent skin!

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47 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. November 15, 2011 at 6:38 pm

this looks fabulous Dara! Way to go!

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48 Wenderly November 16, 2011 at 5:49 am

THAT is one gorgeous turkey Dara.

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49 Culinary Collage November 16, 2011 at 8:26 am

I was looking for a new turkey recipe this year for Thanksgiving and this sounds like a winner……..thanks for the post!

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50 Kathy - Panini Happy November 16, 2011 at 2:39 pm

What an absolutely beautiful bird!!

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51 marla November 16, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Can you please come over to our house to cook up this perfect Thanksgiving turkey. Looks amazing Dara! I can hop a plane for the leftovers ;)

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52 Diane {Created by Diane} November 16, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Oh my goodness this looks wonderful!

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53 Katie November 17, 2011 at 6:54 am

This looks delicious!!! Will use this recipe this year! Thank you for sharing…

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54 Asmita November 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm

This turkey looks beautiful and delicious! The photos are amazing too.
I have never roasted a turkey before but this year will be the first. Wish me luck please.

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55 Winnie November 23, 2011 at 6:18 am

Beuatiful! Happy Thanksgiving Dara :)

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56 Shannon November 29, 2011 at 8:53 am

I used this recipe for my Thanksgiving turkey and it was delicious, especially the shallot gravy! I didn’t notice the quantity of shallots in the recipe list so I only bought one (a large one). After cooking there wasn’t much there so I chopped them up into bits and added the pieces to the gravy. It was my favorite part of the meal!

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57 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) November 29, 2011 at 10:08 am

The shallots really do add something special to this recipe. Next time be sure to try the recipe with the 1 1/2 pounds of shallots. That will yield plenty of browned bits on the bottom to make a fantastic gravy and browned shallots to eat alongside the turkey or tuck into turkey sandwiches the next day.

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58 Brian @ A Thought For Food December 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm

This looks magical! Bet your house smelled wonderful!

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59 Amanda December 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I don’t think it was my first turkey, but definitely one of the firsts where I left the giblets inside. UGH. The turkey was way undercooked as a result. That was over 20 years ago and do you know to this day, every Thanksgiving, my husband asks “Did you take out the giblets”? Smart a$$. I brine all the time now and just love it. I ADORE the idea of using the root veggies in the cavity, and shallots are one of my faves. I also do an herb butter, so amazing isn’t it!? This is picture perfect beautiful Dara, just stumbled. Merry Christmas!

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60 Cara November 22, 2012 at 9:47 am

This is my second year using this recipe… last year turned out fine, but it was my first turkey and I made some rookie mistakes.

This year, non-frozen, hormone free bird. Kerrygold butter, nothing but fresh herbs. Lowered the rack so the bird doesn’t brown TOO quickly… I can’t believe the smell in the house. THANK YOU! Best bird ever.

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61 Kendra November 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm

This will be my third year in a row making your turkey. I found your recipe while frantically searching for tips on how to make my very first Thanksgiving turkey. I can’t thank you enough! I had people telling me it was the best turkey they have ever had. Not only a relief, but a new feeling of pride and even a new tradition for my friends and family! I’m their turkey master. Thank you so much for the recipe and the confidence building tips throughout. Just fantastic!!!

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62 Audrea November 20, 2013 at 5:59 am

This is my first time to ever comment on a post, so I hope you get it. Growing up, my dad always covered the roasting pan & cooked breast side down so that the breasts are always in the juice. Are you leaving yours uncovered & using only foil on the breasts? Also, I’ve only used the “speckled blue” roasting pan, like my dad did :), & if you, or anyone else out there, know which style I’m talking about, can I put that on a gas burning stovetop? This recipe has given me the courage to “do it myself” this year instead of buying the meal prepared by our local grocer, ready to reheat. You’ve given me the courage to go for it!! I’m actually very excited…& nervous.

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63 Alicia November 25, 2013 at 2:38 pm

I have been waiting for 2013 posts to this recipe. This will be my first year trying this recipe and if Kendra has been doing it for 3 years I feel pretty confident about the recipe. I am doing a small turkey this year (13 lbs) and I’m cooking it in a roaster, like I’ve done every year. So will my turkey turn out ok if done in the roaster and not the oven? Might sound like a silly question but ya never know! Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!

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64 Liz November 27, 2013 at 10:59 am

Thank you, Dara.

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