November 23, 2007

Herb is the Word

Each year there seems to be one popular method to prepare your Thanksgiving bird. I'm not talking about the roasting-vs-frying-vs-barbecuing debate. I'm talking about how to get the juiciest and most flavorful bird. Last year, it was maple glaze; the year before, citrus. This year was all about the herbs. Rosemary, sage, thyme, etc. We have yet to find the preferred method in our house, so tend to run with the masses on trying new flavors year after year. I found a recipe on that I planned to follow verbatim. In the end, I made so many modifications that the recipe became more of an inspiration rather than providing specific directions. And an inspiration it was. The skin browned nicely and the meat had just a hint of flavor, without being overbearing. It was the perfect foundation to our herb-inspired Thanksgiving. It remains to be seen if this will become tradition, but we would definitely make this one again. Simple, fresh and savory.

Apple-Shallot Roasted Turkey
Adapted from a recipe by the same name from

1 15-pound turkey
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus 3 sprigs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus 3 sprigs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus 3 sprigs
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise, divided
1 tart green apple, quartered
4 cups chicken broth, plus more as needed

  1. Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 325°F.
  2. Remove and discard giblets and neck from turkey cavities.
  3. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan; pat dry with paper towels. Combine oil, chopped parsley, sage, thyme, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the herb mixture all over the turkey, under the skin and onto the breast meat. Place herb sprigs, 6 shallot halves and apple in the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Scatter the remaining shallots in the pan around the turkey. Drizzle olive oil over the bird. Add 3 cups chicken broth to the pan.
  4. Roast the turkey until the skin is golden brown (about 3 1/2 hours*), basting with the pan juices about every 30 minutes. For the last 30 minutes, loosely place a piece of foil over the bird, to avoid burning the skin. Continue roasting until the meat reaches 165°F. If the pan dries out, tilt the turkey to let juices run out of the cavity into the pan and add 1 cup water.
  5. Transfer the turkey to a serving platter and tent with foil. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes. Remove the string and carve.

* Cooking time based on a 15-pound bird. Cook your turkey according to the package instructions.

Updated 3/2/2008
Weight Watchers = 4 points per serving


Anonymous said...

Oh wow, your turkey came out PICTURE perfect!! Bravo!

Sweet and Savory Eats said...

Thanks! I don't know why, but I always get nervous when it comes to cooking the turkey. I breathed a sigh of relief when it came out well.