Marcus Nilsson

Herb-Roasted Heritage Turkey

Prep: 40 mins
Total: 4 hr
Serves 12


  • 1Preheat oven to 425°, with rack on bottom. Mash together butter, grated zests, minced sage and thyme, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Pat turkey dry. Loosen skin of breast and thighs; rub herb mixture under skin. Season inside cavity and outside with salt.
  • 2Fill cavity and neck end lightly with stuffing. Transfer remaining stuffing to a 1-quart baking dish; cover with parchment-lined foil. Tie legs and tuck wing tips under. Transfer to a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Bring wine, orange juice, orange-zest strips, whole sage and thyme sprigs, and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil. Dampen a piece of cheesecloth with wine mixture; drape over turkey. Pour remaining liquid into roasting pan.
  • 3Roast turkey 30 minutes; baste with pan juices. Reduce temperature to 350° and roast 30 minutes more. Remove cheesecloth; baste. Continue roasting, basting bird and rotating pan every 30 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh (avoiding bone) registers 150° to 155° (for a conventional turkey, 165°), about 1 hour, 30 minutes more, adding water to pan as needed to prevent scorching (if bird is browning too quickly, tent with foil). Transfer turkey to a platter; let stand 45 minutes. Reserve pan with drippings for gravy.
  • 4Meanwhile, bake remaining stuffing 25 minutes. Uncover; bake until heated through and crunchy on top, about 20 minutes more. Carve turkey and serve, topped with more sage and thyme sprigs.
  • 5For the gravy: While turkey is resting, pour pan drippings into a fat separator; let stand until fat rises to surface. (Or use a large glass measuring cup and skim fat from top with a spoon.)
  • 6Bring 1 1/2 cups stock to a boil in roasting pan over two burners, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon. Whisk together remaining 1 cup stock and flour; stir into pan. Boil until thickened and reduced, about 5 minutes.
  • 7Stir in defatted pan juices; cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot, in a gravy boat.



  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest, plus 1/4 cup juice and 4 large strips zest (from 2 oranges)
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh sage and 4 whole sprigs, plus more sprigs for serving
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme and 4 whole sprigs, plus more sprigs for serving
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 heritage-breed turkey, 15 to 18 pounds, room temperature
  • Squash, Chestnut, and Brioche Stuffing
  • 2 cups dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc


Cook's Notes

Use the giblets to make Turkey Stock. The USDA recommends cooking poultry to 165 degrees, although heritage-turkey farmers usually recommend a slightly lower temperature.

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