Roasted Garlic & Meyer Lemon-Rubbed Turkey

Roasted Garlic & Meyer Lemon-Rubbed Turkey

4 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine November/December 2010

Mellow white miso paste is the secret ingredient in this amazing roast turkey rubbed with Meyer lemon and roasted garlic. The miso gives the turkey a mildly salted taste without the hassle of brining.

Ingredients 10 servings

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  • Roasted Turkey
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 3 Meyer lemons (see Tip)
  • 1/4 cup white miso (see Note)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus 3 sprigs
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 10- to 12-pound turkey, neck and giblets reserved for stock (discard liver)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered, divided
  • 2 cups water, plus more as needed
  • Turkey Giblet Stock (optional; 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth may be used instead to make the gravy)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • Citrus Gravy
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juiceor 4 teaspoons lemon juice plus 2 teaspoons orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


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  1. To prepare turkey: Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 400 °F.
  2. Rub off excess papery skin from garlic heads without separating the cloves. Slice the tips off, exposing the ends of the cloves. Place the heads on a square of foil. Sprinkle with 4 teaspoons water and wrap into a package. Roast until very soft, 40 to 45 minutes. Unwrap and let cool.
  3. Zest lemons. Place the zest in a medium bowl; juice the lemons into the bowl through a strainer to catch the seeds. Reserve the squeezed lemon skins.
  4. Add miso, oil, chopped thyme and pepper to the lemon mixture. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins into the bowl. Whisk until the mixture forms a paste.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 350 °. Set aside giblets and neck for making Turkey Giblet Stock, if desired. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels.
  6. Loosen the skin over the breast and thigh meat. Rub the paste under the skin onto the breast meat and leg meat and a little inside the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Place the reserved squeezed lemon skins, thyme sprigs and 2 onion quarters in the cavity. (You may not use all the citrus skins.) Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Place the turkey breast-side up on a roasting rack set in a large roasting pan.
  7. Roast the turkey for 1 hour. Add 2 cups water and the remaining onion to the pan, tent with foil and continue roasting for 1 hour more. Baste the turkey with pan drippings and continue roasting, basting every 15 minutes or so, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh without touching bone registers 165 °F, 1 1/2 to 2 hours more. Add more water 1 cup at a time if the pan is dry.
  8. To prepare stock: Meanwhile, combine the reserved turkey neck and giblets (except liver), water, onion, carrot and celery in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Add bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns. Reduce heat and simmer, skimming and discarding any foam, for 1 hour. Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl and let cool. Discard solids. If necessary, add enough water (or reduced-sodium chicken broth) to measure 4 cups stock.
  9. Transfer the turkey to a clean cutting board (reserve the pan juices and onions). Let the turkey rest while you make Citrus Gravy.
  10. To prepare gravy: Skim off any visible fat from the juices from the roasting pan.
  11. Whisk 1/2 cup of the stock and flour in a small bowl until smooth; set aside.
  12. Set the roasting pan over two burners on medium heat. Add wine; bring to a boil and cook, scraping up the browned bits, until the liquid is reduced by about half, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining 3 1/2 cups stock. Increase heat to medium-high; return to a boil, stirring often. Boil until the liquid is reduced by about half, 6 to 8 minutes.
  13. Whisk the reserved flour-stock mixture and add to the pan, whisking constantly, until the gravy thickens, 1 to 3 minutes. Stir in lemon juice (or lemon and orange juices). Remove from the heat and pour the gravy through a fine sieve into a large measuring cup. (Discard the solids.) Season with salt and pepper.
  14. Remove the string and carve the turkey. Serve with the gravy.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4; cover and refrigerate the garlic-lemon paste for up to 1 week.
  • Equipment: Kitchen string
  • Tip: Look for Meyer lemons from late fall to early spring in well-stocked supermarkets and specialty grocers. If you can't find them, use 2 teaspoons lemon zest and 1 teaspoon orange zest plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 teaspoons orange juice in Step 3. Place lemon and orange skins into the cavity in Step 6.
  • Note: Miso is fermented soybean paste made by inoculating a mixture of soybeans, salt and grains (usually barley or rice) with koji, a beneficial mold. Miso is undeniably salty, so a little goes a long way. White or sweet miso (Shiromiso), made with soy and rice, is yellow and milder in flavor than red miso. Look for it near the tofu in most supermarkets or natural-foods stores.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 3 ounces turkey (without skin) & 1/4 cup gravy
  • Per serving: 190 calories; 5 g fat(1 g sat); 1 g fiber; 6 g carbohydrates; 26 g protein; 21 mcg folate; 82 mg cholesterol; 1 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 24 IU vitamin A; 7 mg vitamin C; 26 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 277 mg sodium; 261 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Zinc (17% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2
  • Exchanges: 3 lean meat

Reviews 4

October 17, 2016
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By: Sue Weiker
We loved it so much, I make my roasted chicken like this many times as well. I roast extra meyer lemons cut in half with the poultry to squeeze over your plate at the table. It's so succulent, and just plain delicious. Has become my favorite of all, Turkey and Chicken and Pork is great done in this manner also (loin). We are big time Citrus lovers though, and, so is my MIL.
November 30, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
The turkey was really moist. Slight citrus flavor that carried through to left-overs. Many positive comments from the family. I will definitely make this again!
November 19, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
How can this be low sodium? When you read the labels on most turkeys the sodium content is higher than this recipe because they are infused with a brine solution, making them very high in salt content.
November 03, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
I decided to try most of these recipes out for to see how they stack up to the regular fare at my family's Thanksgiving dinner. This was, overall, a good recipe. I only gave it three stars though because the marinade comes out with a pretty strong citrus taste. Next time I will probably reduce the amount of zest I use. I also had to use lemons and oranges since Meyer lemons apparently don't exist in my city and that may have been part of the problem. It did keep the turkey nice and moist with the slight saltiness you'd expect. I will definitely use it for this holiday, just tweeked.