Thanksgiving Recipes: Kelsey Nixon’s Easy Herb Roasted Turkey

It seems every family has their tried-and-true turkey recipe that they’ve inherited and will pass on to their kids. Though there are so many ways to add a personal touch–from brining to adding a secret spice rub, and from marinating to using a particular cooking temperature–in the end, it comes down to experience and personal taste. New mom and Cooking Channel star Kelsey Nixon gave us her take on her preferred bird-roasting technique.

“Thanksgiving turkey is arguably one of the most intimidating kitchen experiences out there–but it shouldn’t have to be! By equipping yourself with a few essential ingredients, following directions, and proceeding with a bit of gusto, there’s no reason anyone shouldn’t be able to pull off an iconic (and delicious) turkey on Thanksgiving. My recipe for Easy Herb Roasted Turkey is as easy as they come, and it still packs a punch when it comes to those traditional flavors everyone loves on turkey day.”

Easy Herb Roasted Turkey
Yield: 8-10 servings

2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 fresh turkey (10 to 12 pounds), neck, giblets and liver removed (reserve for other use)
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 cup fresh sage leaves, torn
1/2 bunch fresh rosemary
1/2 bunch fresh thyme
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 yellow onion, quartered

Cook’s Note: You could also purchase a pre-brined turkey.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, combine the lemon juice, chopped rosemary and thyme, lemon zest and 1 stick butter. Cook until the butter is melted. Cut the remaining stick of butter into cubes and set aside.

Place the turkey on a v-shaped rack in a large roasting pan. Pat the turkey thoroughly dry, and then brush the melted butter mixture all over. Liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper on both the outside and inside of the cavity. Fill the cavity with the cubed butter, sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic and onions. Tie the legs of the turkey together with string and tuck the wings underneath.

Roast the turkey until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 to 170 degrees F and the juices run clear, about 2 1/2 hours.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a cutting board or platter. Tent the turkey with foil and let stand 20 minutes before carving.