This Turkey Day, instead of the dry bird you usually end up with, try this heart-healthy recipe that makes a juicy, great tasting turkey.
The zesty lemon-garlic rub for this turkey gives it amazing flavor. Instead of using a conventional supermarket turkey that’s been “enhanced” with added sodium solution, here we brine a natural or organic turkey to keep the meat extra juicy without a lot of extra sodium.
12 servings, 3 ounces turkey & 2-3 tablespoons gravy each, plus leftovers
Active Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes (plus 24 hours brining time)
- 10 cloves garlic, divided
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1 12-pound natural or organic turkey, (see Shopping Tip)
- 1/4 cup freshly grated lemon zest
- 1/4 cup packed fresh oregano leaves
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dry white wine, or dry vermouth
- 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
- Crush 6 cloves garlic and add to a very large stockpot (or clean bucket). Stir in lemon juice, Worcestershire, salt and 4 quarts cold water.
- Remove giblets from turkey (if included) and trim excess skin. Submerge the turkey in the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours. If the turkey is not fully submerged, turn it every 8 hours.
- Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse well and pat dry. Discard the brine.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place the remaining 4 cloves garlic, lemon zest, oregano, oil, pepper and 2 tablespoons water in a food processor and pulse until it becomes a paste. (Alternatively, chop garlic, lemon zest and oregano on a cutting board until finely minced, then place in a small bowl and stir in oil, pepper and water.) Loosen the skin over the breast and thigh meat. Rub the paste all over the turkey, under the skin onto the breast meat and leg meat and a little inside the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Place the turkey breast-side down in a roasting rack set in a large roasting pan.
- Roast the turkey for 1 hour. Turn it breast-side up on the rack, add 1 cup water to the pan, and continue roasting 1 hour more. Baste the turkey with pan drippings, tent with foil and continue roasting, basting every 15 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165°F, 30 to 45 minutes more.
- Transfer the turkey to a large cutting board; let rest for 20 minutes before removing the string and carving.
- Meanwhile, pour any pan juices and fat into a large glass measuring cup and place in the freezer until the fat rises to the top, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, pour the pan juices and fat into a fat separator then pour the defatted juices into a large measuring cup.) Whisk flour with 1/4 cup water in a small bowl.
- Set the roasting pan over two burners on medium heat. Add wine (or vermouth); bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Continue cooking until reduced, about 3 minutes. 10. Remove the pan juices from the freezer, skim off the fat with a spoon and discard. Add the defatted juices and broth to the roasting pan; return to a simmer, whisking often. Cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the flour mixture and simmer until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour the gravy through a fine-mesh sieve and serve with the turkey.
Tips & Notes
- Shopping tip: Look for turkey labeled “natural” or “organic” in natural-foods stores or well-stocked supermarkets. Turkeys labeled “heritage” are also typically “natural.” If you can’t find one, don’t overlook this recipe. It works with conventional turkey, too; just skip the brining (Steps 1-2) and start with Step 3.
Per serving: 180 calories; 6 g fat (2 g sat, 2 g mono); 66 mg cholesterol; 2 g carbohydrates; 26 g protein; 0 g fiber; 120 mg sodium; 273 mg potassium.