This petite turkey is moist, tender and juicy—the gravy puts it over the top. What you have here is a classic turkey with some added depth and flavor. The meat tastes of sage, rosemary, and thyme and the nine pound turkey made six meals with enough leftovers for sandwiches . —Sunnycovechef
Herbed salt and herbed butter
fresh rosemary, stems removed and chopped
fresh sage, stems removed and chopped
fresh thyme, chopped
black peppercorns, crushed
bay leaves, torn
fresh sage , stems removed and chopped
fresh oregano, stems removed and chopped
fresh thyme, stems removed and chopped
Mix the first 6 ingredients to make the herbed salt to dry-brine the turkey. Keep the herbed salt in a container until ready to brine the turkey.
For the herbed butter mix the soft butter with the 1 TBS of sage, oregano, thyme , the salt and pepper. If you make this ahead of time, roll the butter in Saran wrap into a log and refrigerate.
Petite turkey with gravy
Rinse the turkey inside out with cold running water. Cover the bird with the herbed salt mixture and put it in a large plastic bag. Put the turkey on a tray and refrigerate for 12 -24 hours. (I did it for 12 hours.) Remove from fridge and rinse the bird well under running water. Pat dry and put it back on a tray and refrigerate the bird with skin exposed for another three hours.
An hour before roasting, take the bird out of the fridge. Gently push your hand under the skin and loosen it above and around the turkey breast. Add pieces of the herbed butter under the skin. Massage the olive oil all over the turkey and generously salt and pepper the bird.
Put sprigs of parsley, the 6 sage leaves, the sprig of thyme and the cut lemon in the cavity. Tie the bird with some thread.
Measure and cut the cheesecloth before soaking it in 2 ounces of melted butter mixed with 1 to 2 cups of broth. Spread 3 layers of the soaked cheesecloth over the turkey. Put turkey on a rack in a roasting pan . Pour some additional broth over the turkey and put in a preheated 400-degree oven, decrease temperature to 350 after 15 minutes.
Baste the turkey every 20 minutes with additional chicken broth. Remove the cheesecloth about 30 minutes before the bird is done to crisp the skin. Remove the turkey from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. My turkey took about three hours to cook at a high altitude.
For the gravy melt the 4 tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan and add the flour, and stir until the roux starts to change color. Add the pan juices from the turkey and stir vigorously with a whisk until it is smooth and has no lumps. Slowly add in the rest of the stock stirring with your whisk until you reach the consistency you like. Add the Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add some milk to enrich the flavor. My gravy got most of its flavor from the pan juices.