With our busy lives, Cooking Christmas Turkey can sometimes be a little daunting. I’ve always completely deboned our festive turkeys. This cuts the cooking time in half and the meat always stays juicy. You can roll and stuff it with whatever you want as well. I’ve stuffed our turkeys with Mediterranean fixings like olives, sundried tomatoes, artichokes, or gone more with a homey, harvest type stuffing with fresh sage, roasted squash, fresh rosemary.
You can ask your local butcher to debone it for you as it can be a messy difficult job unless you practice and have really sharp knives. Or in this case, we half deboned it – leaving the leg bones in so that it can be trussed like a regular turkey. Rather than forming a traditional stuffing, we just rubbed with citrus, herbs over the whole bird and stuffed with cavity with the remaining pulp, the herbs and roasted onions. Go easy on the rosemary – a little goes a long way.
- 1 12-14-pound turkey, giblets and neck removed, at room temperature for 1 hour
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 1 orange, quartered
- 1 lemon, quartered
- Preheat oven to 450°. Set a rack inside a large roasting pan. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Rub bird inside and out with salt and pepper. Place turkey on the rack in the pan. Using a fork, mix butter, lemon zest, rosemary, sage, and thyme in a small bowl. Rub herb butter over top of turkey and inside cavity.
- Place onion, orange, and lemon inside turkey cavity. Tie the legs to form a cross and lightly tie the turkey to hold it’s natural shape. Pour 2 cups water into pan. Roast turkey, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Baste turkey with pan juices; add more water if needed to maintain at least 1/4-inch liquid in the bottom of roasting pan. Continue roasting turkey, basting every 30 minutes and tenting with foil if skin is turning too dark, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165° (juices should run clear when thermometer is removed), about 2 3/4 hours total.
- Transfer turkey to a platter. Tent with foil and let rest for 1 hour before carving.