Roast Turkey with Herb Butter

Butter, herbs, and garlic rubbed onto the traditional Thanksgiving turkey creates a flavor-saturated show stopper. Serve it with festive trimmings including pears and herbs.


Roast Turkey with Herb Butter

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Ingredients
  • 1  14  pound 
    turkey
  • 1/2  teaspoon 
    salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon 
    freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2  cup 
    butter, softened
  • 2 - 3   tablespoons 
    snipped fresh thyme, tarragon, marjoram, and/or rosemary
  • 2   
    cloves garlic, minced
  •  
    Pear-Pecan Stuffing (see recipe center) or your favorite stuffing
Directions
1.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Remove giblets and neck from inside turkey; discard. Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle body cavity with salt and pepper.
2.
For herb-butter seasoning, in a small bowl, combine butter, herb, and garlic. Starting at the neck end of the turkey, loosen the skin by sliding your fingers underneath it, being careful not to tear it. Slide your hand as far as you can toward the other end of the turkey, separating the skin from the meat. Rub about two-thirds of the herb-butter seasoning over the entire breast.
3.
Spoon some of the Pear-Pecan Stuffing loosely into the neck cavity. Pull neck skin to back and fasten with a skewer. Spoon more of the stuffing loosely into the body cavity. (If you pack stuffing too tightly, it will not get hot enough by the time the turkey is cooked.) If a band of skin crosses the tail, tuck the ends of the drumsticks under band. If there is no band, tie drumsticks to the tail using 100-percent-cotton string. Twist wing tips under back. Place the remaining stuffing in a 2-quart casserole; cover and chill.
4.
Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of one of the inside thigh muscles. (The thermometer should not touch bone.)
5.
Rub remaining herb-butter seasoning over the entire turkey. Cover turkey loosely with foil. Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Continue roasting for 2-1/2 hours. Cut the band of skin or string between the drumsticks so the thighs will cook evenly. Continue roasting for 1 to 1-1/2 hours more or until thermometer registers 180 degrees F to 185 degrees F and stuffing in turkey registers 165 degrees F. Bake casserole of stuffing alongside turkey the last 40 minutes of roasting. Uncover turkey the last 30 minutes of roasting.
6.
Remove turkey from oven. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes before carving. To serve, remove stuffing from turkey and place in a serving bowl. Carve turkey and serve with stuffing. Makes 14 servings.
Variation
  • Turkey Breast Option: Use a 6-pound fresh or frozen whole turkey breast with bone, thawed. Loosen skin and spread butter as above. Place turkey breast, skin side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Spread with remaining butter mixture; insert a meat thermometer into the thickest portion and cover loosely with foil. Put all of the stuffing in a 3-quart covered casserole. Roast turkey in a 325 degrees oven for 2 1/4 to 3 hours until thermometer registers 170 degrees F., adding casserole of stuffing the last hour of cooking and uncovering the last 30 minutes of roasting. Makes 14 servings
Nutrition information
Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 771, Fat, total (g) 43, chol. (mg) 230, sat. fat (g) 15, carb. (g) 23, fiber (g) 2, pro. (g) 71, vit. A (IU) 485.9, calcium (mg) 111.06, iron (mg) 5.58, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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