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Recipes November 2013 Issue

Herb Roasted Turkey With Gravy

This recipe illustrates a few techniques that ensure a moist and flavorful - but healthy - turkey: A mixture of fresh herbs and olive oil stuffed between the skin and the flesh imparts flavor and helps keep the meat moist. The turkey is roasted with the skin on to keep in the moisture, but the skin is removed before serving. Avoiding the skin saves you 40 calories and about 4 grams total fat per 3-oz serving of breast meat. Finally, the key to richly flavored, but lean, gravy is to make a giblet broth (our easy recipe is below) and de-fat pan drippings well. 

1. Set oven rack on lowest shelf of oven; preheat to 325 degrees. Coat a wire roasting rack, preferably a V-shaped rack, with cooking spray. Set rack in roasting pan.

2. Mix parsley, rosemary, thyme, garlic, lemon zest, salt, pepper and oil in small bowl. Place turkey on cutting board. Remove giblets and neck from cavity and reserve for Giblet Broth. Reserve liver for another use. Pat turkey cavity dry with paper towels. Separate skin from breast meat and upper portion of thigh with your fingers, taking care not to pierce skin.

Smear herb mixture between skin and flesh over breast meat and upper thigh. Stuff cavities with onion quarters. Tuck wing tips behind back and tie drumsticks together with kitchen twine. Set turkey, breast side up, on prepared rack. Tent loosely with aluminum foil. 

3. Roast turkey 2 hours. Remove foil and continue roasting until meat thermometer registers 165-170 degrees when inserted in thickest part of breast and 175-180 degrees in innermost part of thigh, 1 to 1 3/4 hours. (Check temperature in both thigh and breast.) 

4. While turkey roasts, make Giblet Broth (if you have not made it in advance).

5. Transfer turkey to large clean cutting board. Cover loosely with foil and let rest at least 20 minutes before carving. (While turkey rests you can heat side dishes.) Pour roasting pan drippings into fat separator or glass measuring cup. Place in freezer to hasten separation of fat from lean drippings. Meanwhile, set roasting pan over 2 burners. Pour in wine (or cider or juice). Bring to a simmer over medium-high. heat, stirring to scrape up brown bits. Simmer 1 to 2 minutes to intensify flavor. Pass through a strainer into medium saucepan. Add Giblet Broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer several minutes. Skim fat from the drippings you have placed in freezer; stir into sauce. Stir cornstarch mixture; gradually add to simmering sauce, whisking constantly, until lightly thickened and glossy. 

6. Remove twine from turkey. Carve turkey, discarding skin, and serve. 

YIELD: About 2 1/2 cups gravy and enough turkey to serve 10, with leftovers. 

NUTRITION FACTS: 3-oz skinless white meat (figures for skinless dark meat in parentheses) with 1/4 cup gravy: Calories: 195 (dark meat, 225). Total fat: 6 grams (9.5). Saturated fat: 1 gram (2). Cholesterol: 60 milligrams (75). Sodium: 135 milligrams (145). Carbohydrate: 3 grams (3): Fiber: 0 gram (0). Protein: 26 grams (25). 

GIBLET BROTH: You can make the broth up to 2 days ahead and store it, covered, in the refrigerator. Alternatively, simmer the broth while the turkey roasts. Heat 1 Tbsp canola oil in heavy 4-to 6-qt pan over medium-high heat. Pat turkey neck and giblets dry. Add to pan and cook, turning from time to time, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add 1 coarsely chopped onion, 2 coarsely chopped carrots; cook, stirring often, until browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Add 1 (32-oz) carton low-sodium chicken broth, 1 cup water, 1 rib celery (cut into several pieces), 4 cloves peeled garlic, 1 tsp black peppercorns, 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves, and 1 bay leaf. Bring to a simmer. Skim froth. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer 1 hour. Pour broth through a fine strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on solids to extract maximum flavor. Blot any fat from surface with paper towel. (If broth doesn’t measure 2 1/2 cups, add water.) Yield: About 2 1/2 cups.



  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 12 pound turkey (fresh or thawed)
  • 2 whole onions (peeled & quartered)
  • 2 1/2 cup Giblet Broth
  • 1/2 cup fortified wine (Madlera, Port) or Marsala or dry white wine or apple cider or pomegranate juice
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

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