Prep: 20 minutes; Cook: 3 hours; Stand: 30 minutes. The flavor in this roasted turkey comes primarily from the mix of fresh herbs and a bit of butter. Maria also gave us tips for making her Simple Traditional Pan Gravy, a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving feast.

Recipe by Health November 2007


Credit: Alexandra Rowley

Recipe Summary test

Makes 30 servings (serving size: 6 ounces turkey)


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 450º.

  • Remove and discard the neck and giblets. Rinse the turkey under cold water; dry.

  • Gently separate the skin from the breast of the turkey with your hands. Rub the unsalted butter evenly over both breasts. Then pat the skin back into place.

  • Season the cavity of the turkey generously with 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

  • Place the sage leaves, parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, bay leaves, onion, and garlic clove into the cavity of the turkey. Tie the legs tightly together with a piece of kitchen twine.

  • Season the skin of the turkey on the top and bottom with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Then, tuck the wing tips under the breast of the turkey, and place it in a wire rack in a roasting pan along with the chicken broth.

  • Place the turkey on the bottom rack of the preheated oven and roast it for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 325º and continue to roast the turkey for 2 1/2 hours, basting it every 20 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer reads 165º when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh of the turkey, away from the bone. Cover the bird loosely with foil. The temperature of the meat will continue to rise while standing.

  • Allow the turkey to rest for 30–40 minutes before transferring to a platter and carving it. Then use the pan juices to make Maria's easy gravy.

  • Simple Traditional Pan Gravy: Start by pouring the juices from the roasting pan in which the turkey was cooked into a bowl, and skim off the fat. Set the bowl aside. Add 1 cup dry white wine to the roasting pan and bring it to a boil. Stir the wine to release the caramelized bits from the pan. Reduce the wine until the pan is almost dry, then add the skimmed juices back to the pan. If the juices are scant, supplement them with fat-free low-sodium chicken broth, as needed. Bring the mixture to a boil and then strain it into a saucepan; keep hot and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk, 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour into 1 cup water (there should be enough of the flour mixture to thicken 8 cups of gravy). Using a whisk, stir 1 cup of hot stock into the flour mixture until it is smooth. Add the thickened stock back into the remaining juices and whisk the mixture together while bringing it to a boil. Simmer the mixture for 15 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste, transfer to a gravy boat, and serve.

  • Note: Nutritional analysis does not include Simple Traditional Pan Gravy.

Chef's Notes

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Nutrition Facts

180 calories; fat 4g; saturated fat 2g; mono fat 1g; poly fat 1g; protein 33g; cholesterol 114mg; iron 2mg; sodium 151mg; calcium 23mg.