My French Turkey Recipe

Thanks Giving is upon us! Here is a little Taste of my French Turkey recipe.  Enjoy!

There are many ways to cook a turkey.  As a matter of fact there are as many ways as there are people willing to cook it.  Here I am going to give you a turkey recipe, the French way, or at least one of them as they are many as well.

There is no Thanksgiving in France, obviously, since it’s an American holiday but, this time of the years is definitely turkey meal time.  So, the turkey, in France is really a Christmas meal.  Christmas is also that time when we eat the very fancy and popular “foie gras”.

It’s not very hard to cook a turkey but, if you don’t do it right your turkey might turn up very dry and this is not what you want to accomplish.  If you cook it according to my instructions below you will have a perfectly juicy turkey inside with a crispy and delicious skin.

Before Preparation

If you buy a frozen turkey between 15 and 20 lbs it will take 3 days to defrost so, do not buy your Thanksgiving frozen turkey on Wednesday night.  I like to buy my frozen turkey the week end before thanksgiving and just place it in the refrigerator to defrost slowly.

Make sure you place it on a pan or dish because the plastic wrap will always leak out somehow.  Before you start preparing the bird for cooking, take it out of the fridge around 30 minutes before you start.  Do not put the turkey in the oven right after taking it out of the fridge.  This is one of the secret of making sure that you are going to have a juicy turkey.

When you are ready to start preparing your turkey for cooking, start pre-heating the oven at a high 475°F.


Make sure you remove the neck, liver and heart which are often placed in a small plastic bag inside the bird.  Then rinse the turkey thoroughly inside and out and place it on the turkey baker where it’s going to cook.  Then, dry up the excess water with a sheet of paper towel.

Ingredients for the preparation

  • A half onion (preferably a yellow one)
  • A branch of celery
  • A couple of carrots
  • A small bunch of parsley
  • Fresh Thyme and rosemary (or dry if you can get fresh)
  • Salt, paper and olive oil
  • Cooking string

Cut the half onion in four, as well as the celery branch and the carrots.  Make sure your rinse all the preparation items thoroughly and inset them all inside the bird.  Keep just a bit of the thyme and parsley on the side to insert between the skin and the best toward the chest area.

Close the hole back with the skin and attach the two legs with a piece of string.  Then attach also the wings against the body by tying up a string around them.

Then, rub the whole bird with olive oil with a cooking brush, sparkle with salt and fresh grounded paper and place the bird on the rack with the back on top.  This will allow the meat of the breast to turn out more juicy and tasty.


Cook the turkey at a high 475°F for 20 minutes and then at a low 250°F for 3 ½ to 4 hours depending on the weight of your turkey.

To measure the time of cooking you need to know the weight of your turkey calculate about 20 per pound.  For example, an 18 pound turkey should take around 3 ½ hours to cook.

The best way to make sure though, is by testing the meat temperature by plunging the thermometer in the deepest parts and make sure you reach around 170°F or cut the meat and check if there is no trace of pink color.

When done, remove the turkey from the oven and let it sit for 20 minutes before serving.  Use some of the juice that dripped to the bottom of the pan to make your gravy and to season some of the side dishes such as your corn and stuffing.

With my turkey, I like to cook on the side, corn, lama beans and sweet peas with baby carrots and of course some stuffing.


If you enjoyed this recipe or if you want to add your own tips, make sure you express yourself below.