Holiday Turkey Recipes – Easy But Tasty

Here are two easy to prepare turkey recipes for the holidays. These can be put together without a great deal of work or effort.

Be sure when starting that the turkeys are at room temperature (not frozen).  And remember a 15 pound frozen turkey can take a long time to defrost and get to room temperature.  So you may need to have your frozen turkey out over night (covered) or stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days.  If the defrosted turkey is in the refrigerator, take it out at least an hour before preparing to roast.

In preparing your turkey, remove the neck and giblets from the turkey; discard the liver and reserve the neck and the rest of the giblets as these can be used for stock, gravy and other accompaniments.

Roast Turkey with Wild Rice, Sausage, and Apple Stuffing




  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cooking apple  peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 2 stacks celery with leaves, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Pinch ground mace or nutmeg
  • 1/2 pound fresh Italian-style turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley





For the stuffing: Combine the wild rice, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender and just bursting, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
(To keep this simple use a rice cooker set for the type of rice selected.)

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, apple, celery, garlic, thyme, mace then salt and pepper to taste.  Saute until the vegetables soften (4 to 5 minutes).  Add sausage broken into small chunks and continue cooking until it sausage is browned but not fully cooked (another 4 – 5 minutes).  Mix in the cooked wild rice along with the pecans and parsley.
Note:  If fresh thyme and parsley are difficult to find, use dried herbs but increase the amount by about 50%
(To keep things simple for the holiday make this the day before.)


  • 1 (8 to 10 pound) turkey, fresh or thawed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning



For the turkey: Dry bird well with paper towels, inside and out. Melt the butter together with the poultry seasoning. Salt (sea salt or kosher salt) and pepper inside the bird cavity. Loosely add the stuffing to the cavity and set the bird on a rack in a roasting pan, breast-side up, and brush generously with the seasoned butter, then season with sea salt or kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Tent the top of the bird with foil.

Roast the turkey for about 2 hours at 325 degrees F in the lower part of the over undisturbed.
Remove and discard the foil.
Baste with the remaining butter.
Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F and continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove turkey from oven, tent with foil and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

As an alternative, place the turkey in a medium size clay baker, put the cover on and put into a cold over, set temperature to 350 and roast for about 2 hours.  Increase the temperature to 425 for another 20 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees.  The turkey will brown inside the clay baker but if you want a more crispy skin finish, remove the top for the last 10 to 15 minutes.  The clay baker will increase the flavor and moistness of your turkey.

Serves: 8

Garlic, Sage and Fennel Roasted Turkey




  • 1 15-pound turkey
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 1 small onion, cut into 6 wedges
  • 2 cooking apples, quartered
  • 1 large bunch fresh sage
  • 1 small bulb fennel, cut into 6 wedges
  • 1 small carrot, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup instant flour
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar




Dry the turkey inside and out with paper towels and season the cavity with sea or kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Cut a whole garlic head garlic in half crosswise and stuff into the cavity along with half of the onion wedges, the quartered apple and half of the sage.

Place the remaining 3 onion wedges, the fennel and carrot in the center of a large roasting pan with 1 cup water (you could substitute white wine).  Set a roasting rack above the vegetables and place the turkey  on the rack breast-side up .  Season all over with sea or kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.

In a sauce pan, melt 3 stick of butter over medium to low heat, add 3 tablespoons sage and salt and pepper to taste . Fill a meat syringe with the warm sage butter and inject it into the breasts, legs and thighs until you have used about half of the sage butter.   Use the remaining sage butter to brush the bird (you can use your hands to do this quickly and completely).

Roast the turkey, uncovered, about 1 hour 30 minutes in the lower part of the over at 350 degrees F.  Rotate the pan and continue roasting until a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165,  which should be about another 1 hour 30 to 45 minutes. Turn off the oven but leave the turkey inside until the thermometer registers 170, 15 to 20 more minutes.

As an alternative, place the vegetables in the bottom of a large clay baker and put the turkey on top of them breast side up.  Cover and put into a cold oven.  Set the temperature to 365 and roast for three hours (no need to rotate) until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  If you want a crispy surface, remove the top for the last 20 minutes or so.  The clay baker will add to the flavor and moistness of your turkey.

Directions for Simple Gravey

While the turkey roasts, melt 1 stick butter in a sauce pan or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the reserved neck and giblets, season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.   Stirring occasionally let this cook until brown (about 10 minutes). Remove the garlic cloves from the head of garlic  and smash them to the sauce pan.  Cook until golden. Add the broth and bay leaves, cover and simmer over medium-low heat, about 2 hours.

Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let rest 20 to 30 minutes before carving.

Transfer the vegetables from the roaster to a blender add the flour along with 1 cup of the drippings from the roaster (pour the drippings into a large measuring cup so the fat can be skimmed off). Puree until smooth.

After removing the bay leaves, neck and giblets from the sauce pan, whisk the remaining drippings from the roaster and the pureed vegetables into the broth mixture.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and continue to whisk occasionally until the gravy is smooth and reaches the consistency you like (about 10 minutes). Whisk in the balsamic vinegar and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  (This is a good task to assign to someone else.)

Transfer the turkey to a platter and garnish with any remaining sage.   Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.

Serves: 16

More alternatives

If these recipes don’t quite fit your expectations, here are several more from Epicurious.  They have 10 ways to prepare turkey along with other suggestions for your holiday table.  Certainly something for everyone.

Find roasting pans at Your Smart Kitchen
Find Clay Bakers at the Clay Baker Store


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