Roast Turkey with Herbes de Provence and White Wine Gravy

By Irvin Lin
One of the biggest dilemmas in roasting a turkey is how to keep the breast from becoming dry and overcooked while making sure the thigh and legs are fully cooked. Brining ensures overall juicy meat in general while the technique of first roasting the bird upside down allows for the dark meat to get a jumpstart on the cooking. It also means the breast self-baste in the beginning with the natural juices running down over it. Turning the turkey right side up halfway through the roasting ensures a beautiful browned skin bird, ready for presentation. Don’t worry if the breast has indentations from the roasting rack once you flip it over. As it continues to cook, it will plump up.
  • Yield: 1 turkey
  • Course: Dinner


  • All Purpose Flour
  • Brine:
  • Chicken Stock
  • Crusty bread
  • Dry White Wine
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Fresh Sage
  • Gravy
  • Herbes de Provence
  • Herbes de Provence blend
  • ice-cold water
  • kosher salt
  • olive oil
  • onion
  • orange
  • pan drippings
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • To Roast
  • turkey
  • turkey fat from pan
  • unsalted butter
  • warm water


  1. Pour the salt and brown sugar into a large stockpot on the stove and add 1/2 gallon of warm water. Heat the water on medium, stirring constantly, until almost all the salt and sugar are dissolved. It should only take a minute or two, you don’t need to get the water too hot. Pour the ice water into the stockpot and add the peppercorns and Herbes de Provence.
  2. Place the turkey in a large brining bag and pour the brine over it. Seal the bag and refrigerate 8 to 12 hours or overnight.
  3. Once the turkey has finished brining, preheat the oven to 425°F. Combine the butter, oil, Herbes de Provence, salt and black pepper in a medium bowl with a fork. Remove the turkey from the bag and pat dry with paper towels. Place 3 sprigs of sage, 1 slice of bread, the onion quarters and 1 quarter of the orange in the body cavity of the turkey. Place the remaining sprig of sage, slice of bread and quarter of orange into the neck cavity of the bird.
  4. Rub 3/4 of the herb butter oil all over the outside of the bird. Gently work your finger underneath the skin of the breast, from the body cavity side, slicing through the membrane between the breast meat and the skin, making sure not to tear the skin. Rub the remaining herb butter oil under the skin on top of the meat as deep as you can all over the breast.
  5. Truss the turkey legs then place the bird breast side down on the roasting rack in the roasting pan. Place in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 325°F. Roast for 30 minutes then pour 2 cups of the chicken stock over the turkey. Roast another 30 minutes and rotate the bird breast side up and pour the remaining 2 cups of chicken stock over the bird. Continue to baste the turkey every hour afterwards.
  6. Roast for an additional 2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours 30 minutes or until an instant read thermometer inserted in the fleshy part of the thigh reads 165°F and the juices run clear when you pierce the thigh. Let rest in the pan or on a serving platter for at least 20 minutes before carving and serving.
  7. To make the gravy, skim 1/4 cup of the turkey fat from the roasting pan and place in a large saucepan. Add the flour and stir to form a paste. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk or heatproof spoon, then drizzle in the pan drippings and the white wine. Bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk, cooking until thickened. Adjust seasonings and serve with turkey.