A couple of years ago I posted this Easy Sage Roasted Turkey Recipe, which was the first time I’d experimented with roasting a turkey upside down and at high temps for shorter times. I’ve been doing it that way ever since, because the meat cooks more evenly and retains more moisture then when I roast it breast up for long periods of time.
I usually stuff fistfuls of compound butter under the skin before roasting, but I was inspired by a turkey recipe I found on Pinterest to try replacing the butter with mayonnaise instead. I wanted lots of flavor, so I incorporated a little dijon mustard and a handful of chopped rosemary into it as well. The end result was super tender and very flavorful – making this my new favorite turkey recipe hands down.
Mr. Hungry and I wanted to try roasting the turkey in our wood-fired oven this year, and it worked great. You don’t need a wood-fired oven to make this recipe though, just make it in your regular oven at the designated temperatures in the recipe below.
The first step is to cut up your aromatics and arrange them in your roasting pan. This will be the foundation of your pan gravy – and these flavors together are amazing!
Next you’ll want to prep your turkey by removing all of the innards. Then make your mayonnaise mixture and stuff it under the skin, inside the cavity, and all over the outside. Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and pepper, then place on top of your aromatics breast side down – preferably on a roasting rack (more on this later.)
Roast the turkey for 2 hours upside down at 450 degrees (F).
Remove the turkey from the oven and carefully turn over in the pan so it’s breast side up. Lower the heat to 400 degrees and roast for one more hour – longer if your turkey is bigger than 16 – 18 lbs.
This is where the wheels fell off for me – because I didn’t use the roasting rack, and I wasn’t careful about making sure the skin didn’t come in contact with the pan, it stuck and tore off when I turned it over.
Still delicious, but not nearly as pretty as when it’s intact. If something like this happens to you, simply carve some of the breast meat off and arrange it nicely on a platter before serving and your guests will never know there was an issue. I won’t tell if you don’t.
Now let’s talk about this gravy. It’s tangy, herby, and just the slightest bit sweet from the apples – the perfect complement to this delicious turkey! Making it couldn’t be easier – just remove your bird from the pan, then remove the lemon halves, and blend everything left in the pan with a blender.
No need to add thickeners to it (or anything else unless you want to adjust for salt and pepper after tasting) because it’s already thick and creamy. This was one of the best gravies I’ve ever had, and there was a ton of it. You can freeze it for use later with roasted chicken or even to flavor soups with.
I can’t say enough how much I loved the results of this experiment! Even with the torn breast skin, this was the tenderest white meat I’ve ever had on a turkey. It was really perfect and had no mayonnaise flavor at all. I hope that you’ll give this method a try and report back!
- 16 - 18 lb turkey
- 3 apples, cut in half
- 1 lemon, cut into quarters
- 2 onions, peeled and cut in half
- 2 - 3 pieces of fresh rosemary
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp ground sage powder
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 Tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (F). Place the pan gravy ingredients in the bottom of your roasting pan, and season liberally with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Place your rack (if you have one) in the pan. Remove any innards from your turkey and rinse out the cavity. Combine all of the mayonnaise ingredients together in a medium bowl and stir well. Carefully separate the skin from the meat of the bird and rub generously under the skin with the mayo mixture. Then rub the mixture over the outside of the bird and inside the cavity until it's all used. Carefully place your bird breast side down on the rack (if you don't have a rack, place it on the aromatics and be sure the breast isn't touching the pan.) Sprinkle generously with more kosher salt and black pepper.
- Roast in the bottom rack of your oven for 2 hours (at 450 degrees.) After two hours, remove the turkey and turn the oven down to 400 degrees. Carefully turn your turkey over so it's breast side up. Roast at 400 degrees for 1 hour (a larger bird will take longer) or until a meat thermometer reads 165 at the thickest part of the thigh (it will continue to cook while resting.) Remove and rest loosely under foil for at least 20 - 30 minutes before carving. While the turkey is resting, remove the lemons from the pan and discard. Pour the rest of the pan drippings into a blender and blend until smooth. Season the gravy with salt and pepper as desired. Serve warm with the turkey.
Approximate nutrition information per serving:
4 oz dark meat: 183 calories, 5g fat, 0g net carbs, 33g protein
4 oz white meat: 153 calories, 2g fat, 0g net carbs, 34g protein
2 Tbsp gravy contains approximately 2.5 grams of net carbs.
Need some delicious low carb side dishes to complement your turkey? Try my Low Carb and Gluten Free Turkey Dressing/Stuffing, Bacon and Smoked Gouda Cauliflower Mash, and my delicious Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pine Nuts!
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