Traditional Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey with Sage Recipe

Traditional Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey with Sage Recipe

  • Makes:
  • Ready In: 5 hrs 30 mins
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 hrs 0 min

Thanksgiving is a time for family and a time to celebrate the harvest. It can be a melting pot in which traditions from the past harmoniously blend with patterns being formed around life today.  Make this very American Thanksgiving turkey as the centerpiece for your meal, reminding all of to carry forward the family traditions of yesterday.

    Nutritional Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 670
  • Fat: 27g
  • Protein: 82g
  • Sodium: 10mg
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 2g


  1. One 16-18 pound turkey
    24 sage leaves
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 sprig thyme
    1 sprig sage
    1 carrot, coarsely chopped
    1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
    1 small onion, peeled and quartered
    2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
    Salt and pepper

    Neck and giblets from turkey
    1 small onion, peeled and diced small
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    1 carrot, trimmed and diced small
    1 celery stalk, finely chopped
    2 quarts cold water
    1 sachet
    2 cups white wine
    3 tablespoons flour
    Salt and pepper


    1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
    2. Rinse the bird, inside and out, under cold running water. Pat dry.
    3. Separate the skin of the turkey from the breast and thighs by running your fingers under the skin, breaking any fibers between the two.
    4. Insert the sage leaves underneath the skin, lying them flat against the turkey meat. Lightly press the skin back in place.
    5. Rub the turkey all over with the olive oil.
    6. Fill the cavity of the turkey with the thyme and sage sprigs, carrot, celery, onion, and garlic.
    7. Fasten the legs close to the body by tying the drumsticks together with kitchen twine.
    8. Season with salt and pepper.
    9. Place the turkey in the oven for 25 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350F. Roast until the juices run clear between the thigh and breast when pierced with a fork, or until the internal temperature registers 150F with a meat thermometer. Cooking time will vary according to the size of the turkey, but will be about 5 hours for an 18 pound bird.
    10. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, prepare the gravy. Brown the neck, giblets, and onion in butter.
    11. Add the carrot and celery.
    12. Add the water and sachet, and bring to a boil. Let simmer over low heat during the time the turkey is roasting, adding more water, if necessary.
    13. When the turkey is done, remove the vegetables from the cavity and discard.
    14. Transfer the turkey to a serving platter and keep warm.
    15. Place the roasting pan over high heat until the fat separates from the brown bits.
    16. With a slotted spoon, lift the neck, giblets, and vegetables from the stock and discard.
    17. Pour off as much fat as possible, then add the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the brown bits.
    18. Pour 4 cups of stock into a sauce pan and simmer for 5 minutes.
    19. Dilute the flour with a little cold water to make a smooth paste.
    20. Whisk the paste into the stock until thickened.
    21. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and serve with the turkey.

Monique Jamet Hooker is the author of Cooking with the Seasons: A Year in My Kitchen . Born and raised in Brittany, France, she developed an interest in cooking at a young age. She trained extensively in France and started her own cooking school Monique's French Cuisine.

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