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Julia Child Roast Turkey


  • 1 - 13-19 lb turkey
  • 1 tsp fresh sage
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • wooden skewers

Basic Brine

  • 6 quarts water - dissolve ingredients in 2 cups hot water, add cold water to total
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt or 3/4 cup table salt (9% salt by weight)

Savory Walnut Stuffing (Parade Magazine)

  • 1/4lb (1 stick) cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ground sage leaves
  • 1 Tbsp ground thyme or thyme leaves
  • 4 cup (10 med stalks) thinly sliced celery
  • 2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 chicken or vegetable bullion cube
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 lb hearty white bread - cut into 1/2“ cubes
  • 2 eggs - beaten (optional for added binding)

Julia Child Stuffing (alternative)

  • 1 1/2 lb hearty white bread - cut into 1/2” cubes
  • 1 Tbsp veg oil
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp ground thyme or thyme leaves
  • 6 celery ribs - minced
  • 3 onions - chopped fine
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 eggs - beaten

  1. Thaw turkey (16lb-4 days fridge) and remove the turkey's neck and giblets. Cook neck and giblet and use juice for gravy.
  2. With the turkey breast side up, use boning knife to cut through skin around leg quarter where it attaches to breast. Bend leg back to pop leg bone out of socket. Stand bird on butt and from backside cut off meat along backbone getting as much meat as possible, until encounter joint. Cut through joint to separate leg quarter and cut through remaining meat getting as much off back as possible, including the oyster. For each leg quarter place skin side down and using tip of knife cut along sides of thighbone to expose bone, then slide knife under bone to free meat. Without severing skin, cut joint between thigh and leg and remove thighbone. Reserve thighbones for gravy.
  3. Rub interior of each thigh with 1/2 tsp sage. 1/2 tsp salt. and 1/4 tsp pepper. Truss each thigh closed using wooden skewers and crisscross tie close with kitchen twine. Place on plate or in container and refrigerate while breast brines.
  4. Starting at rear use kitchen shears to cut along line of fat where breast meets back. Cut until bone encountered, bend back to pop shoulder joint out of socket, and cut back from breast. Reserve back for gravy. Trim excess neck skin from breast. Submerge breast in brine in large soup pot (12 qut) or container and refrigerate. Brine for 12-14 hours. When brining is complete wash the breast well under cold water. Bend the wings so the final segment is tucked between the rest of the wing and breast and is pointing down towards back. The breast may be brined the day prior to cooking and stored dry. If brining the same day remove breast 2 hours prior to start of cooking..
  5. Heat oven to to 300 deg and spread bread cubes on 2 rimmed baking sheets and bake until mostly dry and very lightly browned, 25-30 min. stirring occasionally during baking.
  6. 75 min. before roasting make stuffing: In large skillet heat butter until melted. Add sage, thyme, celery, and onion, saute 5-7 min. Add bullion cube and water, stirring to dissolve. Stir in salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and parsley. In large bowl combine walnuts and bread cubes. Stir in herb-celery mixture. If using eggs stir in.
  7. Preheat the oven to 425 deg. Brush skin side of breast with 2 tsp oil and then place breast skin side down in skillet used for stuffing after wiping clean with paper towel. Roast for 30 min.
  8. Transfer stuffing to 16“x13” roasting pan and pat into level rectangle.
  9. Remove breast from skillet using spatula to free skin from surface and aided with bunched paper towels to avoid burning hand. Flip and place over stuffing at one end of the pan. Arrange leg quarter with skin side up in remainder of pan with thick part to outside and lower legs crossed in center. Brush legs with 1 tsp oil. Tuck any large exposed sections of stuffing under the bird. Transfer pan to oven and cook for 30 min at 425 deg.
  10. Lower heat to 350 deg and cook until breast reaches 160-165 deg and thick part of thigh reaches 175-180 deg. For 17 lb turkey this required an additional 1:00-1:20 for a total cook time of 2:00 - 2:10. Check multiple locations, lowest temp at thickest part. For mixed temps remove undone to separate pan and cook more.
  11. Allow cooked bird to rest for at least 30 min. prior to carving. While turkey is resting use spatula to loosen and stir stuffing. Return to off oven to keep warm.
  12. For serving the upper thighs can be sliced into 1/2“ thick rings. Place stuffing in center of large platter and arrange dark and light meat at the ends.


  • thawing - 4 days in refrigerator for 16 lb turkey. 5 days for ice free interior.
  • brining - 12-14 hr. - may be done day prior to cooking
  • total prep time - 1 1/4hr (turkey wash & dry + stuffing)
  • 17lb total cook time - 1:50 - 2:20 (30 min breast 425deg +30 min 425deg + 1:00-1:20 350deg)
  • 19lb total cook time - 2 hr 10 min. (1:50 breast - 2:10 thighs)
  • 30 min rest prior to carving

recipe/juliachildturkey.txt · Last modified: 2019/11/15 16:03 by rob