Roast Turkey With Maple-Pepper Butter

READY IN: 4hrs
Recipe by evelynathens

Turkeys are just not designed to roast evenly, with the breast being completely cooked long before the wings and legs. This recipe deals with that problem. While you won't be able to carve an entire bird at the table, you will have a perfectly roasted, truly succulent bird and magnificent gravy! This recipe is well-worth the little extra work involved. Enjoy.


I keep looking for the 10 star circle, for recipes such as this. This recipe also includes a flavourful gravy. However, I had elected to serve Recipe No. 12291, Turkey Giblet Gravy, by Derf, which was be served alongside the turkey. I have endeavoured to incorporate as many different ZAAR recipes in the final menu.... There are so many excellent chefs on ZAAR, who submit an incredible number of recipes. If we reviewed five recipes per day, every day of the year, for the next five years, we would not touch on all... There are many steps to Evelyn's creation, but worthy of the effort. Evelyn's recipes, are detailed lessons in cooking which include not only choice ingredients, but also preparation method which would make one think a class is in session; no talking and no chewing gum, please. evelyn/athens, up to this Thanksgiving, I fancied myself a pretty good turkey-cooker. This year, I decided to scan the pages of ZAAR for recipes (for the entire menu) not in my repertoire. The result was "Toolie's Designer Thanksgiving Menu". I kid you not. Upon reading your recipe, I thought, "Holy Toledo, what is that girl doing?" So I read it again, and yet again and decided "Why Not?" I have never been known to be swayed by a daunting recipe, and I ain't gonna start now. I had all of the ingredients on hand, plus some. During the marinating process, Evelyn, I threw in a handful of dried cranberries, and then at step 5, included the cranberries with the maple-butter combination and rubbed the mixture over the flesh, under the skin of a fresh, organic, 18 lb. turkey, over all of the body, and under the skin of its legs. Fortunately, the bird had never been frozen which meant the skin was nice and loose; it was easy to get in under its skin. This bird also came equipped with a little red magic button; a built-in thermometer/thermostat. When the turkey was perfectly cooked, the magic button popped up. I cooked the turkey in a large LOOK cooking bag, EV. (yes, accommodation was made in the cooking bag for the little red magic button, so it could pop to its thermostatic heart's content). There was a lot of lovely tasting juice which I transferred to a large sauce pan. In total, there was about 2 quarts of juice, transferred to already simmering chicken stock.... complete with whatever cranberries had deposited to the juices. OMG, Evelyn, what a flavour... such tender turkey. The combination of Maple-Pepper Butter, cranberries, lemons and herbs enticed taste buds beyond control. I must say, I also cooked chickens to pacify guests who are not fond of turkey, until they tasted your Roast Turkey with Maple-Pepper Butter. They ate some chicken but also enjoyed the turkey, Evelyn. They promised to eat turkey at my home, provided this would be the recipe of choice. I have to confess here, I am one of the fussy people not too fond of turkey, but now, I am a believer, EV. You have lifted me out of the pit of pooh-poohing turkey, with its mundane, dry white meat and sinew thighs, into the wings of organic turkey heaven. The glaze browned up beautifully, even very dark in some spots, but still juicy and tasty. I cooked the turkey at 400deg. F. for about one hour, 350 for the second hour, and 325 for the third hour.... Suddenly the little red button popped. Three hours to cook an 18 lb. turkey.... unheard of in days of yore, but days of yore had never tried marinated, Maple-Pepper Butter Turkey, in a modern cook stove oven. Thank you for an incredible recipe. What else do you have up your sleeve, evelyn/athens?

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Make the glaze: In a food processor, combine the butter, 6 tblsps of the maple syrup, 3 tblsps of the lemon juice, the lemon zest, coarsely ground pepper and salt; process until blended and transfer to a bowll; in another bowl, combine the remaining ¼ cup maple syrup, 1 tblsp lemon juice and finely ground pepper (can be made 1 day ahead – return to room temperature before proceeding).
  2. Marinate the turkey: In a 2-gallon plastic bag, combine the lemon juice, maple syrup, olive oil, shallots, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, lemon zest and pepper; add the turkey to the bag, squeeze out as much air as possible and seal the bag; distribute the marinade evenly over and inside the turkey (think of this as a therapeutic, turkey massage); set the turkey, breast side down, in a bowl in the refrigerator and marinate for 24 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. Preaheat oven to 450F; position the oven rack near the bottom of the oven.
  4. Wipe off the shallots and garlic from the turkey and pat dry; strain the marinade into a bowl, skim off the oil and reserve; set the herbs, garlic and shallots aside separately.
  5. Using your fingers, carefully loosen the turkey skin over the breast and thighs; put all but 3 tblsps of the softened maple-pepper butter under the breast and thigh skin, patting gently to spread the butter; put 1/3 each of the diced onions and celery in the cavity; tie the legs together with kitchen string and set the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan; rub the breast and thigh skin with the remaining maple-pepper butter and roast for 30 minutes, basting twice; because the sugar in the maple syrup may cause the turkey skin to brown quickly in places, cover loosely with foil; lower the oven temperature to 350F; spread the remaining onions and celery around the turkey and roast for about 1 ½ hours longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast, just above the wing-joint reaches 165F, and the juices run clear.
  6. Transfer to a carving board and let stand, loosely covered with foil, for 30 minutes; remove the whole legs from the turkey, cutting them off at the hip joint; cut off the wings from the breast; return the wings and legs to the pan and roast for about 30 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 180F and the juices run clear; transfer the legs and wings to the turkey on the carving board, cover with foil and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.
  7. Make the gravy: Set the roasting pan over 2 burners over high heat and cook the vegetables, stirring, until golden brown; carefully pour off all but 2 tblsps of the fat; add the flour and whisk for 1 minute; add the reserved marinade and the chicken stock and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits; simmer, whisking constantly, for 3 minutes; strain the gravy into a saucepan and boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 10 minutes; season with salt and pepper; serve alongside the turkey.
  8. Note: The standing period before removing the turkey legs and wings, along with the extra roasting time for these parts will have resulted in the main carcass having cooled down considerably; while making the gravy, cover the turkey with foil and pop back into a slow oven to warm up.

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