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Lemon-Sage Turkey

Yield 12 servings


  • 1 (12-pound) turkey
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 8 to 10 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • Lemon-Parmesan Stuffing
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Garnishes: fresh sage leaves, lemon slices, lemon rind curls

How to Make It

  1. Remove giblets and neck from turkey. Reserve giblets for Lemon-Parmesan Stuffing. Reserve neck for another use. Rinse turkey thoroughly with cold water; pat dry.

  2. Combine butter and lemon juice; stir well with a wire whisk. Carefully loosen skin from turkey at neck area, working down to breast and thigh area. Rub two-thirds of lemon butter mixture under skin. Place 8 to 10 sage leaves between skin and meat. Rub inside of body and neck cavities with lemon halves. Sprinkle cavities evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

  3. Lightly stuff Lemon-Parmesan Stuffing into body and neck cavities of turkey. Place turkey on a lightly greased rack in a roasting pan, breast side up. Tie legs together with heavy string. Lift wingtips up and over back, and tuck under bird.

  4. Coat turkey with remaining one-third lemon butter mixture; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour wine into pan. Insert a meat thermometer into meaty portion of thigh, making sure it does not touch bone.

  5. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 3 1/2 hours on bottom oven rack or until thermometer inserted into thickest part of leg registers 180° and center of stuffing reaches 165°. Let turkey stand 15 minutes before carving.

  6. While turkey stands, pour pan drippings through a wire-mesh strainer into a large saucepan, discarding solids. Combine flour and 3/4 cup pan drippings, stirring until mixture is smooth; add to remaining pan drippings in saucepan, adding enough water to measure 2 1/4 cups, if necessary. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes or until mixture is thickened, stirring often. Serve with turkey. Garnish, if desired.

Christmas with Southern Living 1999