Roast Turkey with Herb Butter and Caramelized-Onion Gravy by Rochelle Palermo Torres


  1. 1/2 cup butter
  2. 4 large onions, thinly sliced
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  4. 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  5. 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  6. 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  7. 3 tablespoons honey
  8. 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  9. 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  10. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  11. 21 pounds turkey; neck, heart, and gizzard reserved
  12. 1 large onion, quartered
  13. 4 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  14. 2 large fresh rosemary sprigs
  15. 2 large fresh thyme sprigs
  16. 1 bay leaf
  17. 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour


  1. For gravy base: Melt butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until deep brown, about 40 minutes. Mix in rosemary and thyme, then flour; stir 1 minute. Add vinegar and honey; simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)
  2. For turkey: Mix butter and herbs in small bowl. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry. Place on rack set in large roasting pan. Sprinkle inside and out with salt and pepper. Starting at neck end, slide hand between skin and breast meat to loosen skin. Spread 1/4 cup herb butter over breast meat under skin. Rub remaining butter over outside of turkey. Place turkey parts and onion quarters in pan around turkey. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
  3. Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. If stuffing turkey, spoon stuffing loosely into main cavity and neck cavity. Tuck wing tips under; tie legs together loosely to hold shape. Roast turkey uncovered 1 hour. Tent turkey breast and tops of drumsticks loosely with foil; roast 1 hour longer. Add 1 cup broth, herb sprigs, and bay leaf to drippings in pan. Continue to roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175 degrees F, basting with 3/4 cup broth and pan juices every 30 minutes, about 2 hours 30 minutes longer for unstuffed and 3 hours longer for stuffed. Transfer turkey to platter; let stand 30 minutes (internal temperature will increase 5 to 10 degrees).
  4. Strain pan juices into 8-cup measuring cup; spoon fat off top. Heat gravy base over medium heat. Whisk in flour, then pan juices. Boil until gravy is reduced to 7 cups, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve turkey with gravy.

Yield: 14 servings

  • Calories: 1181 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 12 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1 g
  • Fat: 60 g
  • Protein: 139 g
  • Sugars: 8 g


If your roasting pan only fits sideways in the oven, turn the pan every hour so the turkey cooks and browns evenly. For step-by-step photos, see our Roast Turkey and Gravy feature.

  1. 1 (20 pound) fresh whole turkey giblets and neck removed from cavity and reserved
  2. 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter melted, plus
  3. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  4. 1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry white wine
  5. 2 teaspoons salt
  6. 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  7. Classic Stuffing
  8. 1 cup dry red or white wine for gravy (optional)
  9. Giblet Stock


  1. Rinse turkey with cool water, and dry with paper towels. Let stand for 2 hours at room temperature.
  2. Place rack on lowest level in oven. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine melted butter and white wine in a bowl. Fold a large piece of cheesecloth into quarters and cut it into a 17-inch, four-layer square. Immerse cheesecloth in the butter and wine; let soak.
  3. Place turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack in a heavy metal roasting pan. If the turkey comes with a pop-up timer, remove it; an instant-read thermometer is a much more accurate indication of doneness. Fold wing tips under turkey. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper inside turkey. Fill large cavity and neck cavity loosely with as much stuffing as they hold comfortably; do not pack tightly. (Cook remaining stuffing in a buttered baking dish for 45 minutes at 375 degrees.) Tie legs together loosely with kitchen string (a bow will be easy to untie later). Fold neck flap under, and secure with toothpicks. Rub turkey with the softened butter, and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and pepper.
  4. Lift cheesecloth out of liquid, and squeeze it slightly, leaving it very damp. Spread it evenly over the breast and about halfway down the sides of the turkey; it can cover some of the leg area. Place turkey, legs first, in oven. Cook for 30 minutes. Using a pastry brush, baste cheesecloth and exposed parts of turkey with butter and wine. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and continue to cook for 2 1/2 more hours, basting every 30 minutes and watching pan juices; if the pan gets too full, spoon out juices, reserving them for gravy.
  5. After this third hour of cooking, carefully remove and discard cheesecloth. Turn roasting pan so that the breast is facing the back of the oven. Baste turkey with pan juices. If there are not enough juices, continue to use butter and wine. The skin gets fragile as it browns, so baste carefully. Cook 1 more hour, basting after 30 minutes.
  6. After this fourth hour of cooking, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Do not poke into a bone. The temperature should reach 180 degrees F (stuffing should be between 140 degrees and 160 degrees F) and the turkey should be golden brown. The breast does not need to be checked for temperature. If legs are not yet fully cooked, baste turkey, return to oven, and cook another 20 to 30 minutes.
  7. When fully cooked, transfer turkey to a serving platter, and let rest for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the gravy. Pour all the pan juices into a glass measuring cup. Let stand until grease rises to the surface, about 10 minutes, then skim it off. Meanwhile, place roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup dry red or white wine, or water, to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the pan until liquid boils and all the crisp bits are unstuck from pan. Add giblet stock to pan. Stir well, and bring back to a boil. Cook until liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add the defatted pan juices, and cook over medium-high heat 10 minutes more. You will have about 2 1/2 cups of gravy. Season to taste, strain into a warm gravy boat, and serve with turkey.

Yield: 14 servings

  • Calories: 1276 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 7 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0 g
  • Fat: 71 g
  • Protein: 132 g
  • Sugars: 1 g

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