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Perfect Roast Turkey

 Roast Turkey


Chef Mary has found that the best way to achieve a moist and tender turkey is to roast it unstuffed in an oven cooking bag.

Stuffing acts like a sponge when baked inside a bird, sucking the juices out of the meat and adding extra fat, cholesterol, and calories to the stuffing.

Purchase a fresh (not frozen) natural or organic turkey that has been raised on natural or organic feed without hormones or steroids. These turkeys will also not have been injected with extra fats, sodium, or unhealthy chemical tenderizers.   

1 fresh, natural or organic turkey (12 to 24 lb.)

1 turkey-sized oven cooking bag

1 tbsp. garlic powder

1 tbsp. rubbed sage

1 tsp. thyme

1 to 3 tsp. salt

1 to 2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1 large onion

2 parsnips

2 carrots

2 stocks celery

3 to 6 cloves fresh garlic, cut into slivers

3 to 4 sprigs of sage and thyme, fresh or dried

1.  Cut vegetables into large chunks. Add herb sprigs and garlic to vegetables and set aside. Mix seasonings together in a small bowl and set aside.

2.  Remove turkey giblets and neck. Wash turkey inside and out with cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Rub turkey inside and out with seasoning mixture and stuff with ¾ of the cut vegetable mixture.

3.  Preheat oven to 350 F. Following package instructions, prepare baking bag. Place turkey in bag and set on rack inside a large roasting pan. Place remaining vegetables inside of bag surrounding turkey. Insert meat thermometer into thickest part of leg, between thigh and breast. Close bag with provided tie and cut six ½-inch slits in top of bag. Place roasting pan on middle rack of oven.

4.  Following baking bag instructions, roast turkey for recommended time or until the meat thermometer reads 175 to 180 F. Remove the turkey from oven. Make two to three small slits in bottom of bag to allow drippings to drain into pan.

5. After drippings have drained, remove the rack and turkey from pan and set aside on a baking sheet to rest 25 to 40 minutes before carving. (This is an ideal time to prepare gravy. See Degreasing Roasting Pan Drippings and the recipe for Turkey Gravy posted on the SelectHealth Healthy Cooking Blog.)

Cook's Note: If you are not using the recipe for Grandma’s Old- fashion Sage Stuffing, prepare your stuffing, leaving out ¼ to ½ of the liquid called for in the recipe. You can add moisture back to the stuffing after it bakes using the degreased drippings from your turkey. This will make the stuffing taste like it was baked inside of the turkey!

Nutritional Information: 4-oz. serving of white meat – 170 Calories; 3.7g Total Fat; 34g Protein; 0 Carbohydrates; 0 Fiber; 78 mg Cholesterol; 73mg Sodium.

Nutritional Information: 4-oz. serving of dark meat – 212 Calories; 8g Total Fat; 32g Protein; 0 Carbohydrates; 0 Fiber; 96mg Cholesterol; 90mg Sodium.

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Post Author

Mary Ross

Mary is currently a Marketing Account Specialist and has been with SelectHealth for six years. She spends a lot of her time doing what she loves the most—teaching people how to cook healthy meals.

You can frequently see Mary on local television stations demonstrating how to revamp popular recipes by using healthy substitutions and cooking techniques.