Herb Roasted Turkey

*Herb Roasted Turkey*
Serves 12 to 14

This really is a moist and flavourful way to cook a turkey. The smell alone, when it is roasting, lures everyone into the kitchen. You can hardly wait for it to be done so you can tuck in to it. I have done this with turkey crowns as well with lots of success. I hope you will try it and like it as much as we do. This recipe was a grand prize winner in a Taste of Home turkey recipe contest.

14 pound turkey
(I like to use a free range bird, myself)
1 TBS salt
1 tsp pepper
18 sprigs of fresh thyme, divided
4 medium onions, sliced
4 celery ribs, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
3 bay leaves
1 TBS peppercorns
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp minced fresh sage
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
1 tsp finely chopped chives

Pre-heat the oven to 160*C/325*F.  Get out a large roaster.  Remove any giblets etc. from your turkey and rinse it well.  Pat it dry with some paper towelling.

Rub the surface of your turkey with salt and pepper and sprinkle inside the cavity with some salt and pepper as well. Place 12 sprigs of thyme in the cavity.  Place the onions, celery, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns and the remaining thyme sprigs in the bottom of the roasting pan.  Place the turkey, breast side up, on top of the vegetables.  Drizzle the butter all over the turkey and then, sprinkle with the minced herbs.  Cover loosely with foil.  Bake for 2 1/2 hours.  Remove the foil and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours longer, basting every 20 minutes.  The turkey is done when the juices run clear when you prick the turkey with a fork, and when the drumsticks are loose when lightly twisted.  Remove from the oven to a heated platter and lightly cover with foil.  Allow to stand for 20 minutes before carving. 

For gravy, skim off any fat from the pan drippings.  Add a couple of cups of stock to the pan and vegetables and bring to the boil to deglaze and loosen up any tasty bits from the bottom.  Strain this into a saucepan.  Put some cold water into a jar along with a few TBS of flour.  Shake it really well and then strain it into the saucepan, whisking it in very carefully.  Bring to a simmer over moderate heat, whisking the whole time and cook until bubbling and thick.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.  Place in a gravy boat for serving at the table.

Serve the turkey sliced and pass the gravy boat around!