Thanksgiving Roasted Turkey

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and I don't think I'm alone in that sentiment! It's the perfect time to gather with family and friends and enjoy some relaxation and delicious food. This year, we hosted my family for the day after Thanksgiving and it was wonderful. We bought a house last year, so this was the first time hosting in the new house. Thanks to this turkey, I think it was an overall success! I did brine the turkey, which I think is really important, so I wouldn't skip that step if it were me! Give this a go next Thanksgiving, or just add it to your recipe stash for a group dinner! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 fresh (or frozen and thawed) turkey (this one was 15.5 pounds)

1 orange, zested (keep the orange and slice into quarters)

1 yellow onion, cut into quarters

~3 cups vegetables for bottom of turkey (I used carrots, brussel sprouts, and onion)

bunch of fresh rosemary, 1 tb set aside

bunch of fresh thyme, 1 tb set aside

bunch of fresh sage

2 tb butter, softened

1 cup chicken broth (low sodium)

olive oil (you'll need enough to coat the veggies and the turkey)

salt (approx. 1/2 tb)

pepper (approx. 1 tb)

brining mixture (I used store bought dry mixture where you just dissolve it into water)

brining bag or large container to submerge turkey into brining liquid

kitchen twine

non-stick cooking spray

Directions:

NOTE: You need to begin the brining process day in advance so that the turkey can brine for 12-24 hours. I bought a pre-packaged brine mixture from Spice Hunter. Follow the instructions on the back which consists of boiling a large pot of water and dissolving the brining mixture into it. Let it come to room temperature and then cool it in the refrigerator. Once cooled, submerge your cleaned turkey (bag, neck, and giblet removed) into a brining bag or large container until it's mostly submerged in the brining liquid. Add water if necessary. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the oven rack on the lower position. Remove the upper racks if necessary to make room for the turkey. When ready, remove the turkey from the liquid and rinse under cold water. Make sure you rinse the turkey inside and out. Pat dry. Separate the skin from the meat and rub olive oil, salt, and pepper all over the turkey, inside the cavity as well. You won't need a lot of salt since you brined the turkey. Tie your bundles of rosemary, thyme, and sage with kitchen twine. Inside the cavity of the turkey, place 3 quarters of the onion, the herb bunch, and the orange quarters. Tie the legs together with twine and tuck the wings under the turkey. In a roasting pan, lightly spray non-stick cooking spray. Toss in the vegetables coated in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the turkey on top of the vegetables and pour in about 1 cup of chicken broth. Place in oven with aluminum foil covering the breast of the turkey. Roast for about 2 hours.

Remove the turkey after 2 hours and remove the foil. Mix the softened butter with the orange zest and 1 tb rosemary and 1 tb thyme. Rub this butter mixture all over the turkey (carefully since it'll be hot). Place back in the oven for 1 more hour or until temperature reads 165 degrees. If it's getting too brown, place the foil back on the turkey temporarily. Let sit for about 20 minutes and then carve. Serve with your favorite gravy!

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