Leah Chase’s Roasted Turkey

  • Serves

    serves 8


Leah Chase, the longtime chef at Dooky Chase, prepares a roasted turkey with astonishingly tender and juicy breast meat. The secret, we learned, is to seal the bird in an oversize packet of aluminum foil, which locks in the moisture. To brown the bird, she unwraps it and roasts it at a high temperature for the last 30 minutes.


  • 1 (12-lb.) turkey
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 ribs of celery, roughly chopped
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. rubbed sage
  • 4 crumbled dried bay leaves


Step 1

Heat oven to 350°. Rinse turkey under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Season cavity and skin of turkey generously with salt and pepper to taste. Stuff cavity with onions and celery.

Step 2

Tie legs together with kitchen twine, tuck wings under body, and place turkey on top of an 18" x 26" sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Top with another sheet of foil of equal size. Crimp and seal edges tightly to form a packet.

Step 3

Transfer sealed turkey to a large roasting pan fitted with a rack and roast for 2 1⁄2 hours.

Step 4

Meanwhile, melt butter in a 1-qt. saucepan along with thyme, sage, and bay leaves. Remove top sheet of foil from turkey and raise oven temperature to 500°; cook, basting with herb butter every 5 minutes, until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh (without touching bone) reads 165°–170°, about 30 minutes more. Let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

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