Roast Citrus Turkey

Roast Citrus Turkey

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 160 minutes
Servings: 14 Serves 12 to 14.

For the most delicious results, choose a fresh turkey, rather than a frozen one. Organic, free-range and heritage turkeys are raised on natural feed and are allowed to roam, which gives the meat better flavor. To help ensure the meat is exceptionally moist and tender, try our flavor injector, an ingenious tool that allows you to infuse the bird with a seasoned marinade before roasting.


For the flavor injector mixture:

  • 1 cup turkey stock
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tbs. orange zest
  • 1 Tbs. lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 fresh turkey, 16 to 18 lb.
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the gravy:

  • 1 jar (17 oz.) turkey gravy base
  • 1 1/2 cups milk or turkey or chicken stock


To make the flavor injector mixture, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the stock, orange juice, orange and lemon zests, salt and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the salt and brown sugar. Transfer to a glass bowl and nestle the bowl in a larger one filled halfway with ice and water. Let cool completely. Transfer half of the mixture to a blender and blend on high speed for 1 minute. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Set aside.

Preheat an oven to 425ºF.

Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Gently slide your fingers under the breast to loosen the skin and insert about 12 large sage leaves, spacing them evenly. Place the remaining sage sprigs in the body cavity. Truss the turkey if desired. Submerge the flavor injector needle into the stock mixture and pull the plunger upward to draw in the liquid. Insert the needle 2 to 3 inches into the meat and push the plunger. Repeat in 6 to 10 places along the breast and thighs.

Brush the turkey with the melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, away from the bone, registers 165ºF and the thigh registers 175ºF, about 2 1/2 hours more. If the breast begins to cook too quickly or the skin begins to get too dark, cover the turkey loosely with aluminum foil.

Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving. Reserve 2 Tbs. of the pan drippings for the gravy.

To make the gravy, pour the turkey gravy base into a saucepan. Whisk in the pan drippings and milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve. Carve the turkey and arrange on a warmed platter. Transfer the gravy to a warmed sauceboat and pass alongside.
Serves 12 to 14.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.
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