Recipe of the Month
Pam's Famous Herb Roasted Turkey

Pam's Famous Herb Roasted Turkey


Ingredients

1 whole turkey, thawed
1 1/2 cups parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup sage, finely chopped
1/2 cup rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 cup thyme, finely chopped
1 small-medium onion, finely chopped.
3-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed in a garlic press
1 TBSP salt
2 TSP pepper
Olive Oil
3-5 bay leaves
 
Instructions

  1. OPTIONAL:  Brine the turkey.

Some cooks prefer to brine their turkeys because it keeps the meat moist during cooking.  Also, if you add herbs to the brine, such as garlic or bay leaves, their flavors will infuse the turkey.  Although there are many, many recipes on the Internet, the simplest brine is just water and salt.  If you want to find a more complicated, flavorful recipe, a simple Google search will provide you will countless recipes.  Just choose one that sounds good to you and follow the instructions.  Otherwise, just use this recipe the night before you will be cooking the turkey.

  • Get a large (at least five gallon) container.  A cooler or five gallon bucket works well.
  • Put one quart of water in a small pan and bring it to a boil over high heat. 
  • Add 1 1/2 cups salt.
  • Reduce heat and stir until all the salt is dissolved.   Set aside.
  • Fill the large container with about 5 quarts of water (that’s about 24 cups). 
  • Add the salt water that you made in the small pan.
  • Stir a little to make sure that the salt is distributed all through the water
  • Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey’s cavity and put the turkey in the water. 
  • If you are using a container that will fit in your refrigerator, refrigerate the turkey and water overnight. 
  • If your container won’t fit in the refrigerator, add ice to keep turkey below 40°F. 
  • Make sure the turkey is fully covered with water.  If the turkey floats, weight it down with something so that it stays underwater.  If you’re using a really large container, you may have to make more brine in order to cover the turkey.
  • Let the turkey soak overnight (at least 8-12 hours).
  • When you are ready to cook the turkey, remove it from the container and discard the brine.
  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F.

  2. Prepare the herb mix.

  • Using fresh herbs will give you the best flavor, however, dried herbs will work in a pinch.  If using dried herbs, simply crumble them (if necessary).
  • Chop the parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, onion, and garlic as finely as possible. 
  • Put everything you just chopped into a bowl and add the salt and pepper.
  • Add olive oil until the herbs clump together nicely but don’t drip oil.  This usually takes about 2 TBSP of olive oil, but may take more if you are using dried herbs.  Just add small amounts until you reach the desired consistency.  You know you’ve got it right when you have a thick paste that doesn’t drip oil.
  1. Do rude things to the turkey
  • Use your hands to gently separate the skin on the breast and legs from the meat of the turkey, without completely removing the skin.  The goal is to leave the skin mostly intact, but create a space between the skin and the meat where you’ll spread the herbs.  The best way I have found to do this is go under the skin at the cavity of the turkey and work your hand over to the legs and up to the neck. 
  • Spread the herbs all over the meat, under the skin of the turkey.
  • Take a small knife and stab a deep hole into each breast of the turkey. 
  • Stuff the holes with herb mix.
  • If you have leftover herb mix, stab holes in the legs with the knife and stuff them with herb mix.  You can also rub the inside of the turkey’s cavity with the leftover herb mix.
  1. Put the bay leaves into the cavity of the turkey.

  2. Roast the turkey in a preheated (325° F) oven until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165° F.  Use the following chart to estimate your cooking time.

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