Roast Turkey with Sage
October, 2004

Serves 8, with leftovers / This turkey is the perfect size to cook in four hours and should provide ample servings (plus leftovers). Fresh sage tucked under the skin and cheesecloth draped over the turkey keep the rich flavor and moisture inside the bird. The sage leaves also add a dramatic, decorative touch. Serve with organic cranberry sauce, if desired.

1 14-pound turkey, fresh or fully thawed

20 fresh, whole sage leaves

Salt and pepper

1 red apple, quartered (leave peel and core on)

1 onion, quartered (leave skin on)

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup turkey or chicken broth

Cheesecloth, large enough to cover the turkey, single thickness

1. Preheat oven to 450º. Remove liver, giblets, heart, and neck from inside turkey; discard or save to make stock.

2. Rinse turkey and pat dry. From the front of the breast, slide hands under turkey skin and loosen all the way to the back of the turkey. Place 10 sage leaves (5 on each side) under breast skin in a decorative pattern.

3. Salt and pepper turkey cavities (body and neck). Stuff with remaining sage leaves, apples, and onions. Skewer cavities shut. Rub outside of turkey with soft butter. Fold and tuck wings under turkey.

4. In a small saucepan, mix olive oil and broth. Saturate cheesecloth with liquid, squeezing out extra. Blanket turkey with cheesecloth. Use remaining broth for basting.

5. Place turkey on a rack in a large, heavy roasting pan. Place pan on lowest oven rack and immediately reduce temperature to 325°F. Bake for about 3 hours (17 minutes per pound), basting with oil-stock mixture every 20–30 minutes. (During last hour of cooking, cover lightly with foil, if necessary, to prevent overbrowning.) Remove cheesecloth during last 30 minutes of cooking. Insert meat thermometer in breast and thigh meat to judge doneness. Final breast temperature should be 170º, thigh 180°F.

6. Remove turkey from oven and let juices run into roasting pan. Tightly cover whole turkey with foil until ready to carve. Reserve pan juices to drizzle over slices before serving.

PER SERVING: 217 cal, 33% fat cal, 8g fat, 3g sat fat, 89mg chol, 34g protein, 2g carb, 0g fiber, 103mg sodium