Favorite Thanksgiving: Herb and Citrus Turkey

Because throwing out food is the worst, I often use this recipe for just thighs or a breast rather than an entire turkey if we don’t have many guests. Using just parts is great — it’s easier to tell if your meat is entirely thawed, everyone can have the part they like best, and it cooks faster. Two 1-pound thighs will cook in about an hour at 350 degrees. Breasts cook at about 16-20 minutes per pound at 325 degrees.


1 lemon

1/2 c. butter or non-dairy option Earth Balance, softened

1/2 shallot, chopped

8 large sage leaves, torn

2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves

1 tbsp. rosemary leaves

1 clove garlic

1 (12- to 14-pound) fresh whole turkey

1 medium onion, cut into wedges

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

Kitchen string

1 c. dry white wine

1 c. low-sodium turkey or chicken broth

1/4 c. all-purpose flour


  1. Zest and juice lemon to equal 3 tablespoons into the bowl of a food processor; add butter and next 5 ingredients. Process until very smooth and herbs are minced. Reserve and chill 1/4 cup herb butter.
  2. Heat oven to 425°F. Remove giblets and neck from turkey and discard. Drain cavity well; pat dry with paper towels. Loosen and lift skin from turkey breast without totally detaching skin. Rub 3 tablespoons herb butter under skin; replace skin and secure with wooden picks if desired. Sprinkle cavity and outside of turkey with desired amount of salt and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Arrange onion and next 2 ingredients in a large roasting pan. Place turkey, breast side up, on a lightly greased roasting rack in pan. Tie ends of legs together with kitchen string; tuck wingtips under. Rub entire turkey with remaining herb butter. Pour wine and chicken broth into roasting pan.
  4. Bake on lowest oven rack at 425°F for 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325°F and cook 2 to 2 hours 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of thigh registers 165°F, basting every 30 minutes with pan juices. Shield with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, if necessary. Remove from oven, and let stand 20 minutes.
  5. Transfer turkey to a serving platter. Pour drippings through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, discarding solids. Reserve 2 1/2 cups pan drippings.
  6. Melt reserved chilled butter in a saucepan over medium heat; whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add reserved 2 1/2 cups drippings to saucepan, and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until thickened. Serve turkey with gravy.