October 24, 2016
Maple-Bourbon Roast Turkey

Maple-Bourbon Roast Turkey

by Berkeley Wellness  |  

Want your turkey to look its best for serving? Tie the legs together before cooking. If the legs are not tied, the turkey tends to splay out and look less attractive on the carving board. Obviously, this step is completely optional. If your roasting pan doesn’t have a lid (which is important to the success of this steam-roasting method), cover the pan with a couple of layers of foil, crimping it around the edges of the pan to make a tight seal.

Serving suggestion: Make one of the following stuffings to go with the turkey, but bake it separately, not inside the bird. Try Apple & Onion Cornbread Stuffing or Sausage, Chestnut & Dried Plum Stuffing.

Makes 16 servings


1 turkey (12 to 14 pounds)

4 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon rosemary, minced

1 teaspoon rubbed sage

1 small onion, peeled

1 small apple, halved and seeded

6 cloves garlic, peeled

2 cups bourbon or dark rum

½ cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce ¼ cup flour


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. With your fingers, carefully lift the skin of the turkey away from the flesh. Rub 2 teaspoons of the salt, ½ teaspoon of the rosemary, and ½ teaspoon of the sage under the skin.

2. Rub the cavity of the turkey with the remaining 2 teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon rosemary and ½ teaspoon sage. Place the onion, apple and garlic in the turkey cavity. Tie the turkey legs together with kitchen string.

3. Place the turkey, breast-side up, in a roasting pan (not on a rack) with a tight-fitting lid. Pour the bourbon, maple syrup, and soy sauce into the pan. Cover and roast two hours without removing the lid.

4. Uncover and roast for 20 minutes, or until the turkey thigh registers 180°F on a meat thermometer. Transfer the turkey to a platter.

5. Pour the pan juices into a gravy separator and let stand until the fat rises to the surface of the separator. Pour the degreased juices into a medium saucepan (discard the fat). In a small bowl, whisk ½ cup of the pan juices into the flour until smooth. Whisk the flour mixture back into the saucepan of pan juices and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the gravy is slightly thickened and no floury taste remains, about seven minutes.

6. Remove the apple, onion and garlic from the turkey cavity and discard. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy. Remove the skin before eating.

Nutrition per serving: 390 calories, 8.5g total fat (2.8g saturated), 128mg cholesterol, 0g dietary fiber, 9g carbohydrate, 50g protein, 477mg sodium.

Good source of: niacin, riboflavin, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, zinc.

From The Wellness Kitchen, by the staff of The Wellness Kitchen and the editors of the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter.