Traditional Roasted Turkey

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Prep Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 290 minutes
Servings: 12

Several components of this recipe can be made in advance, including the herb mayonnaise, stock and brine; cover and refrigerate until ready to use. About 12 hours before you plan to roast the turkey, place it in the brine and refrigerate.


For the herb mayonnaise:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh marjoram
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh golden sage 
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 orange, juiced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the stock:

  • 12 oz. chicken wings
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped carrot
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh marjoram
  • 1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce

For the brine:

  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 12 oz. chicken wings, halved at the joint
  • 1 turkey neck
  • 1/4 cup diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 quart cold water
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1/2 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 fresh marjoram sprigs
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs

For the turkey:

  • 1 fresh turkey, 14 to 16 lb., neck, heart and gizzard reserved
  • 2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 20 grinds pepper from a mill
  • 5 fresh marjoram sprigs
  • 3 golden sage sprigs
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 2 green apples, sliced
  • 1 Spanish onion, julienned
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed

For the classic gravy:

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 turkey heart
  • 1 turkey gizzard
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives


To make the herb mayonnaise, place the egg yolks and mustard in a food processor or blender and pulse until combined. While the processor is running, slowly drizzle in the oil until the mixture has fully emulsified and thickened. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the marjoram, sage, thyme and orange juice. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. This recipe makes about 2 cups mayonnaise; use 1 cup (or more if needed) for the turkey and reserve the rest for another use.

To make the stock, preheat an oven to 450°F.

Place the chicken wings in a roasting pan or large ovenproof fry pan. Add the oil and toss to coat. Transfer to the oven and roast until the wings are fully browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Transfer the wings to a pressure cooker and drain off a little fat from the pan (reserve it for another use, if desired).

Place the pan on the stovetop over medium heat and add the celery, onion, carrot, garlic, marjoram, sage and thyme. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until it starts to brown and is lightly caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the water to the pan and stir to scrape up the browned bits. Transfer the entire mixture to the pressure cooker. Add the remaining 5 1/2 cups water and the soy sauce and bring to a boil. Place the top securely on and let the mixture cook at full steam for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the lid from the pressure cooker once all of the steam has released. Let the stock cool completely. (Store it in the refrigerator if making in advance.) Skim the fat off the top and discard. Strain the stock and discard the solids.

To make the brine, in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the chicken wings and turkey neck and cook, stirring occasionally, until dark brown and roasted, about 10 minutes. Add the carrot, celery and onion and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until golden, 5 to 7 minutes more. Add the wine and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

Add the cold water, soy sauce, kosher salt, allspice, garlic, cinnamon, marjoram and thyme. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, then stir well. Set the pot in an ice bath to cool the brine. Strain out the solids and reserve; refrigerate the solids until ready to use.

To prepare the turkey, put the brine mixture and the turkey into a brining bag, seal the bag and refrigerate for 12 hours. Remove the turkey from the brine and reserve about 1/2 cup of the brine for basting. Rinse the turkey with cold water to remove the excess brine and pat dry with paper towels. Let the turkey stand, uncovered, at room temperature for 1 hour.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 425°F.

Place the reserved brine solids on the bottom of a roasting pan and set a roasting rack over the solids. Sprinkle the turkey cavity with the sea salt and pepper. Place the marjoram, sage, rosemary, apples, onion and garlic inside the cavity. Truss the turkey with kitchen twine. Coat the turkey evenly with 1 cup of the herb mayonnaise, using more if needed. Place the turkey, breast side up, on the rack in the roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and roast for about 1 1/2 hours more, then begin basting every 15 minutes with the pan drippings and leftover brine using a pastry brush. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, away from the bone, registers 165°F. Total roasting time should be 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, make the gravy: Ladle about 1 cup of the stock into a medium bowl. Add the cornstarch and whisk until smooth to make a slurry. Then whisk the slurry back into the stock. Add the turkey heart and gizzard. Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, process the mixture until completely smooth. Begin adding the butter a little at a time, incorporating it until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings with kosher salt and pepper. Transfer the gravy to a saucepan and keep warm until ready to serve. When ready, transfer to a serving dish and garnish with chopped chives. This recipe makes about 4 cups gravy.

Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Cut and discard the kitchen twine and carve the turkey. Serve with the gravy. Serves 10 to 12.

Note: Food Network Kitchens suggest caution when consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the risk of salmonella or other food-borne illnesses. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the outside of the shell. For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served, use shell eggs that have been treated to destroy salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method.

Recipe by Chefs Michael & Bryan Voltaggio.

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