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Tasty Heritage Turkeys

A rare breed brings history to the holiday

fall turkey dinner

Heritage turkey with rosemary maple butter. — Photo by Tara Donne

Roast Heritage Turkey with Rosemary Maple Butter

To protect a heritage turkey's smaller, leaner breast, farmer and food writer Sandra Kay Miller roasts her birds with flavored butter under the skin. To make your own, bring butter to room temperature and whip together with maple syrup and minced rosemary.



1/2 pound butter

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon mince fresh rosemary


1. Rub turkey inside and out with sea salt and pepper. Loosen skin and insert rosemary maple butter (recipe below) between meat and skin.

2. Set bird on wire rack in deep roasting pan. Add about 4 cups broth. Tent pan with parchment paper coated on both sides with cooking oil and affixed to pan with strip of foil on each end (or use clean, oiled wooden clothespins).

3. Preheat oven to 425° F. Roast until thigh temperature reaches 150° F. (The USDA recommends 165° F.) Remove paper for last 30 minutes to crisp skin. Rest 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

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