Sheet Tray Turkey Dinner Recipe

The secret to roasting golden, juicy turkey on a bed of sourdough dressing? A citrus brine followed by an herb-citrus butter.
October 14, 2020, 11:00am
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Serves 4
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 3 ½ hours, plus brining overnight


1 cup|250 ml apple cider vinegar
1 cup|130 grams kosher salt, plus more to taste  
½ cup|95 grams light brown sugar 
15 sprigs fresh thyme 
3 bay leaves 
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
9 garlic cloves
3 large oranges
3 red fresno or jalapeño chiles
5 pounds|2 kilograms 250 grams bone-in, skin-on turkey legs and wings
½ cup|10 grams parsley, minced 
⅓ cup|7 grams fresh sage, minced 
16 tablespoons|230 grams unsalted butter, softened  
freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
1 loaf (about 1 pound|450 grams) sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes 
¾ cup|100 grams dried cranberries 
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 
3 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch pieces  
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cups|500 ml chicken broth


  1. Place the apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar, 5 sprigs of the thyme, the bay leaves, and 1 sprig of the rosemary in a large saucepan. Smash 3 garlic cloves and place them in the saucepan. Using a peeler, remove the peels of one of the oranges in long strips, adding it to the saucepan, then squeeze in the juice. Thinly slice one of the red chiles and throw it in the saucepan with 16 cups|4 liters cold water. Bring to a boil over high and cook until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove the brine from the heat and cool completely, then add the turkey. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, remove the turkey from the brine. Submerge the turkey legs in a large pot of clean, cold water for 15 minutes, then remove and pat the legs dry.
  3. Heat the oven to 350°F. Mince the remaining thyme, rosemary, garlic, and chiles and place in a medium bowl with the parsley, sage, and butter. Zest in the remaining oranges and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. Remove the skin and pith from the oranges and slice into ½-inch rounds, then cut them into half moons. Lift the skin of the turkey and stuff it with half of the butter. Season the turkey all over with salt and pepper.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the bread, cranberries, carrots, celery, and onion with the chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. Spread into an even layer on a sheet tray and nestle the turkey legs on top along with the orange slices. Dot the remaining butter on the dressing and bake until the turkey and dressing are golden and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey reads 170°F, about 2 hours. Let the turkey rest for 15 minutes before serving.

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