Recipe: Garlic and Herb Vegetable Stuffed Turkey

I’ve always made turkey the same way – my mom’s way. That is stuffed with a delicious, bread-based stuffing. I’ve never veered from that recipe, so on my first Gluten-Free Easter I needed a new recipe – and a way to keep the turkey moist and flavourful without traditional stuffing. I didn’t want to use a $7 loaf of gluten-free bread to make a bread-stuffing that didn’t compare to the real thing, so I searched a bunch of different recipes and made up my own based on what I had in my kitchen. A lot of recipes used thyme, but I don’t like thyme. I don’t know why, I’m not a picky eater at all, but I don’t like thyme. So I picked out some garlic, parsley and oregano, and chose some vegetables to stuff inside the turkey to keep it moist and add some flavour (garlic roasting inside a turkey, sounds delicious to me, but then again I love garlic anything!)

turkey roasted

Gluten-Free Garlic and Herb, Vegetable Stuffed Turkey
Printable: Gluten-Free Garlic & Herb, Vegetable Stuffed Turkey

6-8 kg turkey
olive oil

Vegetable Stuffing
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
3 stalks celery, chopped into chunks
2 onions, peeled and quartered
2-6 cloves of garlic, depending on how much you love garlic

Herb Butter
½ cup butter, or butter-like product of your choice. I used Becel Vegan which is lactose and gluten free… although I’m not sure that regular Becel isn’t gluten-free, I still like seeing the words on the label)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tsp parsley
1-2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Chop up carrots, celery, onions and garlic and set aside to stuff into turkey. Originally this was more for moisture and flavour, but the vegetables ended up being a great side dish as well.

Mix the butter, minced garlic, about 2 tsp parsley and about 1 tsp of oregano (or so, I just threw a bunch in until it looked right). Mix it up and set aside while you rinse and stuff the turkey.

Clean your hands and remove your rings. This is where things get messy. Rinse the turkey inside and out and place in the roasting pan. Stuff the vegetables inside the bird and into the pocket at the neck of the bird.

Use your hands to separate the skin from the breast of the turkey. This is where we want to cram all the buttery, herby, goodness. Work your fingers slowly along, starting at the bottom near the legs and wiggling all the way up to the neck as far as you can go without breaking the skin. Move slowly and patiently and it will separate just fine. Then scoop up handfuls of the butter and smear it in between the skin and meat. Save about ¼ of the butter to rub over the outside of the bird. Finally, drizzle the outside of the bird with some olive oil to help the skin crisp up – or because I watch a lot of Food Network and it seems like something chefs do… and it looks nice.

turkey raw 2

My turkey was about 7 kg/15lbs so it was going to take about 3.5-4 hours to cook. I started the oven at 400° and cooked it there for the first hour, then I reduced the heat to 325° for the rest. Tent the turkey in foil for the first 2 hours and remove for the rest so the skin can get deliciously brown and crispy. After removing the foil start basting the turkey every 20-30 minutes. It is ready when the temperature in the thigh reaches 165°, the leg easily wiggles back and forth, and juices run clear (no more pink!).

Let the turkey set for at least 30 minutes before removing from the pan. This lets the juices settle – we tried to remove it right away and the juices just spilled all over the counter. We threw it back in the pan and when we removed it half an hour later it was perfect. I wrapped it in foil for another half an hour before carving.

turkey carved

The turkey ended up juicy and delicious. And look at all those delicious herbs underneath that crispy brown skin! The vegetables inside turned into a great side dish as well. I threw them into an oven safe dish and back in the oven at 350° for 10-15 minutes to roast up and caramelize a bit more before serving.

carved turkey breast

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