Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Roasted Orange Rosemary Turkey

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Orange Rosemary TurkeyIn preparation for Thanksgiving I thought I’d post my favorite roasted turkey recipe—orange rosemary roasted turkey. I’ve made it 4 years now for Thanksgiving and it always turns out delicious! I have the gobs of butter rubbed on the skin to thank for that… oh and it smells amazing! The onions and oranges along with the rosemary roasting all day are heavenly. Also this is EASY. Honestly I think making turkey is the easiest part of Thanksgiving… just get it in and let it cook all day. You just need to get your hands a little dirty first ;)


  • 1 whole turkey (or a chicken works too) – any weight (cooking time will depend on weight)
  • 1 stick of butter, very soft
  • 4 tbsp. rosemary, chopped to release aroma
  • 2 c. olive oil
  • 2 whole onions
  • 3 large oranges (also zest of these oranges)
  • salt and pepper
  • water
  • tools: roasting pan, lots of paper towels, basting tube, meat thermometer, string for tying legs (I use dental floss!)

I start by chopping and measuring everything, before I’ve even touched the turkey—this helps keep your kitchen and hands as clean as possible.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get out your roasting pan.
  2. First zest the skin on all of the oranges. I like lots of orange zest but do as much as you’d like and toss it into a medium sized bowl. Rough chop the onions and oranges (leave skin on oranges) into chunks. Dump into the bowl and add olive oil, rosemary, and a couple pinches of salt and pepper (you pretty much cannot have too much salt on the turkey skin!). Mix oranges and onions to completely coat with oil and zest and rosemary. Set aside.
  3. Now it’s time to prep the turkey. Get out three plastic grocery bags. One will go over your hand to pull out the turkey innards, and the other two layer together and set next to the sink. This is where you’ll put all the trash.
  4. Next to your sink place the extra plastic sack, paper towels, roasting pan, string, bowl with oranges and onions, and butter.
  5. Clean out both sides of your sink. Put the trash bag sacks on one side of the sink. The turkey will go in the other. Get your turkey out of the refrigerator and cut off the packaging and stick the packaging in the trash bag in the sink. Put the extra plastic bag over your hand, stick your hand into the turkey and pull out the innards—sometimes they are in a bag and sometimes they are loose. Pull your hand out, pull the bag over them and toss them into the trash sack. Now turn on cold water and rinse off the turkey. You’ll need to fill the inside with water too and turn it upside down to get all the blood off.
  6. Next look to see if there is a neck still attached at the top of the turkey. If so you need to snap it off and throw it in the trash sack. Give it a good rinsing and then pat it dry with paper towels and set it in the roasting pan.
  7. Take the oranges and onions and stuff as many as you can into the cavity of the bird. Reserve the seasoned oil in the bowl. You’ll need this for coating the turkey later. Any extra oranges and onions set in the bottom of the roasting pan. These make delicious gravy drippings.
  8. Next grab a knife and just above the cavity opening where you stuffed it, pull the skin up and cut it slightly so you can slide your hand under the skin, onto the chicken breast. Grab a chunk of the softened butter with your hands and rub it all over the chicken breast (under the skin). Rub butter underneath all the skin on top and then rub butter on the outside of the skin too.
  9. Grab the remaining olive oil from the orange bowl and rub the olive oil/rosemary mixture all over the turkey. Rub in on the top, bottom, and sides too.
  10. Grab your string and tie the legs together as tightly as you can to hold the shape of the turkey and keep it together.
  11. Place roasting pan in the oven and use the chart below to determine cook time based on weight of turkey. Once golden brown, baste occasionally to keep juicy.

(From These times are based on placing the whole turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven.

Cook the turkey until the skin is a light golden color, and then cover loosely with a foil tent. During the last 45 minutes of baking, remove the foil tent to brown the skin. Basting is not necessary, but will promote even browning. The only true test for doneness is the temperature of the meat, not the color of the skin.

  • The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of165 degrees F. To get an accurate reading, be sure that your thermometer is not touching the bone.
  • If your turkey has been stuffed, it is important to check the temperature of the dressing; it should be 165 degrees F (75 degrees C).
  • When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 20-30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, and makes for easier carving.

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