Roasted Turkey with Lemon Parsley & Garlic never fails to impress. Crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside. This Roasted Turkey recipe is a family favorite for years that we serve during the holidays. It is succulent, full of flavor and aromatic. If this is your first time to make it, you can’t go wrong with this recipe.
My ham recipes and rib eye roast recipes were so popular this Thanksgiving. Maybe you would like to try this Roasted Turkey with Lemon Parsley & Garlic this Christmas.
Some people are intimidated when cooking turkey, some just don’t care for it. The only thing that bothers me is the amount of space it occupies in my fridge, other than that it is easy to cook. When I was younger, I love to store meat when they go on sale especially steak. You’ll find 10 packages of ribeye steak or pork chops. I stopped doing this, either they get freezer burn or I forget about them.
Now, as soon as I get it, I cook it within the same week. Turkey is one that I hate to store in my freezer. For bigger household, it is economical to buy huge amount of stuff but for a household of 3, weekly shopping is best, in my opinion. Anyway….
When I buy turkey, usually around the holidays, I prefer something between 10 to 13 pounds. If I need something bigger, I don’t buy a 25 pounder, instead I get 2 of the 10 pounder. It is easier to carry and handle. With 2 10 pounder, they can thaw side by side in the fridge at the bottom rack. With a bigger turkey, I have to adjust the rack to accommodate this heavy enormous bird.
Years ago, during family gatherings the cooks were my mom, aunts and uncle. Filipinos are accustomed to having ham on holidays instead of turkey. For a change, my uncle who is a very good cook brought a huge appetizing turkey. When it was time for dinner, I believe my cousin took the first slice and discovered the giblet bag was still in the cavity. We all started laughing and guess what – no one ever touched that turkey again. That was the joke and conversation piece that night. No idea what happened to the turkey, don’t know if my uncle brought it home and ate it himself.
So here you go, read my tips in preparing turkey so you don’t end up like my uncle whose effort, time and money went to waste.
Serve Roasted Turkey with Lemon Parsley & Garlic this Holiday Season
Tips in Preparing Turkey
Preferably, I like getting my turkey 5 days before I make it, so I don’t have to freeze it. It goes directly at the bottom rack of my fridge to thaw for a few days.
- This is an 11 pound turkey and I had it in the fridge for 4 days to thaw.
- Place the packaged turkey on a tray at the bottom rack of your refrigerator.
- After 4 days, take it out of the fridge and leave it sitting at room temperature for 2 hours.
- When you open the package, there might still be chunks of ice in the inside cavity.
- Remove the neck and giblets bag. Some brands will have both in the lower cavity while others might have the bag in the top cavity and neck at the bottom cavity. Set this aside to use for soup. Don’t discard these scraps as it is so flavorful when making soup stock.
- I know we are not suppose to wash our meat to avoid contamination or food poisoning but sometimes it’s a habit that’s hard to break. If you do, dry well with paper towel and clean your sink right away.
- Leave bird sitting on the counter to fully thaw while you prepare the seasoning. Place a paper towel under bird to absorb excess liquid.
- When turkey is fully thawed, remove paper towel. Use a spatula or your hands to lift the skin from body. Slowly insert spatula or your fingers between the skin and meat avoiding tear on the skin. Do this all over. There are areas that is hard to penetrate, take a small knife and slit a small area between skin and meat so you can get your fingers in. Again, careful not to put a hole on the skin. If you think you will break the skin, don’t even use a knife.
- Generously salt and pepper the inside cavity and outside of bird. Note: Your seasoning has salt too so salt to taste, you don’t want a very salty turkey.
- Make sure bird is fully thawed so it cooks evenly.
- Place the bird in a roasting pan.
- Set aside 1/3 of seasoning for the exterior of bird. Use remaining 2/3 to put under skin, lift the skin and place some seasoning using your fingers. Push seasoning to get to the legs and wings. Massage it in the outer area, pushing seasoning to get to other areas. Once this is done, rub remaining seasoning in the outside.
- Make a foil tent for turkey to control browning. Drumstick takes longer to cook, so only cover the breast area. Set this foil aside for later use.
- Stuff lower cavity of turkey with lemon, onion, garlic, parsley and bay leaves.
- Wrap kitchen twine around turkeys parson’s nose (butt area), then crisscross drumstick and tie together.
- Insert a thermometer under the thigh, not drumstick, reaching for the body cavity. Thermometer should reach 165 – 170 degrees F in breast and 180 degrees F in thigh for food safety. Bake at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes without cover. Remove from oven and baste with drippings.
- Set oven temperature and time. For an 11 pound turkey you can bake at 325 degrees F for 3 hours or at 350 for 2 ½ hours. Place foil tent loosely to cover breast to prevent overcooking. Note: Another way to use foil is towards the end of roasting, place it when about 2/3 done.
- During this baking time, baste turkey twice.
- 45 minutes before done check turkey legs. If browning is enough to your liking cover with foil.
- 20 to 25 minutes before turkey is done, remove breast foil cover and brown to your liking.
- To check for doneness, temperature on meat should read 165 – 170 degrees F in breast and 180 degrees F in thigh.
- When done roasting, remove turkey from oven and transfer drippings to sauce pan if using as gravy. Rest turkey uncovered for 2 ½ hours. As meat relaxes, it re-absorbs the juice making it succulent, tender, juicy and easy to carve. Note: You might say, if you rest it for 2 ½ hours then it will be served cold. Don’t worry you are serving it with hot gravy.
- Make your gravy while waiting for turkey.
- Serve turkey whole or carve it before serving.
How to Carve a Roasted Turkey
Leave your beautiful roasted turkey whole to show-off your guest. Before dinner, it might be best if you carve it yourself. This way everyone gets a piece of the crispy turkey skin. In my family, that is the first thing to disappear. Some people prefer not to eat the skin but Thanksgiving is once a year and go figure I will indulge in my favorite parts.
- Remove drumstick by cutting through skin all the way to the joint.
- Remove wings.
- Two ways to cut the breast.
- Horizontal Cut
- Insert a big fork in upper wing to steady turkey.
- With a knife, make a long horizontal cut above the wing joint through the breast area.
- Once knife reaches a horizontal cut, the slice will fall off. Cut thin slices at a higher point each time.
- Vertical Cut
- With the bird upright, place knife at the center of body frame (breast). Make a vertical cut through breast (top to bottom) until you get the left side breast. Repeat process for right breast.
- Cut about ½ inch slices across the grain from top to bottom.
- Horizontal Cut
- In a big platter, arrange the breast, wings and legs and serve with your favorite gravy.
- Save up the bones for soup.
How to Make Turkey Gravy
- Use turkey drippings since all the goodness are in these juice.
- For a thicker gravy, use flour or cornstarch. Don’t use too much or you’ll end with clumps of gravy.
- Serve gravy piping hot.
- For a more flavorful gravy, take the wings, parson’s nose (turkey tail) and drumstick tips to cook with sauce.
- Strain gravy using a fine sieve before serving.
This is the popular Gordon Ramsay’s Christmas Turkey recipe. It looked so good while he was making it and it is. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. I added 2 ingredients, garlic powder and garlic onion. I’m a sucker for anything garlic. Try this turkey recipe, it doesn’t disappoint, easy, flavorsome and delicious, you’ll love it.
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Roasted Turkey with Lemon Parsley & Garlic Recipe & Video
Roasted Turkey with Lemon Parsley & Garlic is succulent and tender, crispy on the outside and juicy in the inside.
- 1 10–11 pounds turkey
- kitchen twine to tie drumstick together
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large onion peeled and quartered
- 1 lemon quartered
- 5 large garlic cut in half
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil to drizzle
- Bunch of flat leaf parsley (with stem & leaves, not chopped)
- 1 pound (2 sticks) butter, soften at room temperature
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large lemon juiced
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest finely grated
- 4 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
- ½ cup flat leaf parsley leaves only, chopped
- 1/3 cup garlic onion chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 6 strips of bacon
- onions lemon, parsley and garlic from roasted turkey
- 3 rosemary sprigs
- 3 tomato chopped
- 1 liter 35 ozs. hard dry cider
- 600 ml 21 ozs. chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons walnut pieces toasted and coarsely pounded
- Thaw a 10 – 11 pounds turkey with packaging on a tray at the bottom rack of fridge.
Take thawed turkey from fridge and remove neck and giblets from the turkey cavity. Dry turkey with paper towel, if needed. Season cavity well with salt and pepper. Also, season lightly the exterior of bird.
Insert a spatula or your fingers between the skin and meat on breast from both ends of turkey. Loosen skin, careful not to tear it. Repeat this process all around the bird. There will be areas that is hard to reach which is fine.
- Prepare the seasoning. In a large bowl, combine soften butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Blend well. Add garlic onion, chopped parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix until well incorporated.
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF (220°C).
With turkey upright, gently lift skin on breast area and stuff with butter mixture. Stuff 2/3s of butter mixture underneath turkey skin all over bird. Some areas will be hard to reach, stuff some butter mixture at the opening then from the exterior of skin, gently massage and push butter in areas hard to reach. Add some seasoning inside the cavity too.
- Stuff upper cavity with a piece of onion and lemon. On the lower cavity, add all remaining ingredients: onion, lemon, whole bunch of parsley and bay leaves.
- Wrap a kitchen twine in the parson’s nose area then crisscross the drumsticks together.
Spread the remaining 1/3 butter mixture all over the exterior of bird. It doesn’t matter if you have clumps of butter mixture, it will melt once in the oven.
- Place the bird in a large roasting tray, breast side up. Drizzle olive oil.
Tack in wings on its side as it will burn easily. Note: At this point, if you like to roast turkey the following day cover it with foil and refrigerate.
Insert a thermometer beneath the thigh, not drumstick and not touching the bone. It should be pointing towards the body cavity. Thermometer should reach 165 - 170 degrees F in breast and to 180 degrees F in thigh.
- Roast bird at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes.
- Remove turkey from oven and baste with drippings. As you can see from the image above, some areas of breast have browned already. To control the browning and not overcook breast area, cover loosely with a foil tent. Note: Another way to use foil is towards the end of roasting, place it when about 2/3s done.
- Put it back in the oven, set the temperature and time. For an 11 pound turkey, you can bake at 325 degree F for 3 hours or at 350 for 2 ½ hours.
- Baste at least twice during roasting.
- Check turkey legs 45 minutes before its done to check if browning is enough to your liking. Cover with foil, if needed.
- Remove breast foil cover 20–25 minutes before done to brown and crisp the skin of turkey.
- To check if done, temperature on meat should read 165 - 170 degree F in breast and to 180 degree F in thigh. Another way to check, insert a metal skewer into the thickest part of the leg and check that the juices are running clear, rather than pink. If pink, roast for another 15 minutes and check again. Repeat as necessary until the turkey is cooked.
- Once done roasting, remove turkey from oven and transfer drippings to sauce pan to make gravy. Rest turkey uncovered for 2 ½ hours. As meat relaxes, it re-absorbs the juices making it succulent, tender, juicy and easy to carve. Note: Serve gravy piping hot over turkey.
- Make your gravy while turkey is resting.
- Depending on your preference, serve turkey whole or carve it before serving.
- Drain the excess fat from the roasting pan. Use your roasting pan if safe to use on stove if not use a regular pan.
- Fry 6 strips of bacon. Once crispy remove from heat and chop into smaller pieces. Keep heat on.
- Take parsley, lemon, onion and garlic from turkey cavity and chop all these ingredients. Place in pan with chopped bacon. Add 2 rosemary sprigs and tomatoes to thicken gravy. Cook for about a minute or two. Take turkey wings, parson’s nose and drumstick tips and cook with gravy for a few minutes.
- Pour dry cider into the mixture. Cook for about 3-5 minutes until reduced. Pour the juices from the turkey. Simmer for a few minutes until liquid is reduced by half.
- Crush mixture with potato masher to extract more flavor. Pour chicken stock, bring to a boil, then lower heat until liquid is reduced by a third.
- Taste if salt and pepper is needed. Turn off heat.
- Use a sieve to strain gravy into a sauce pan, then press down the solids in the sieve with a ladle to extract the flavorful juice. Add a sprig of rosemary to infuse more flavor and turn off heat.
- Before serving, remove rosemary sprig. Crush walnuts using a pestle and mortal. Place at the bottom of gravy boat and pour hot gravy.
Instead of using foil to cover breast area, line about 8 uncooked bacon strips on top of breast. Lay bacon after you have rubbed the seasoning outside turkey. Then use bacon for gravy.