A sure way to keep cheaper cuts of turkey moist and tasting great is with butter. Butter Basted Turkey Legs and Thighs with Fresh Herbs guarantee flavour and moistness!
I grew up in a home where whole roasted turkey was the norm. Well, maybe not the norm – it’s not like we ate whole roasted turkey every night for dinner, but there was a whole roasted turkey for every celebration.
Now that I’m older, I’ve come to realize that a special occasion for most families; one that would warrant the work and the effort of roasting a large turkey, is usually Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. For our family, as well as most Newfoundland families, a whole stuffed turkey was the main at more than two occasions per year.
My mom would stuff and roast a twenty five pound turkey for not only Thanksgiving and Christmas, but also New Years Day and Easter Sunday. I can’t remember any of those days without a turkey while I was young enough to still live at home.
Before mom passed away and still had her strength, she would often roast a whole turkey for a birthday, a get together, or just because she wanted it and felt like it. It wasn’t uncommon for her to buy three or four turkeys at a time and freeze them until the mood to roast one took over.
Now though, things are different. I live in Toronto with John.e and McKenna. They’re both vegetarians, and remaining family members aren’t that far away, but we all have lives and families of our own, so it’s not always feasible to get together for holidays. So, rather than roast a whole turkey for just myself, I opt for a few legs and thighs just so that I don’t feel like I’m getting the short end of the stick.
We do limit turkey dinners to Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day though. I’ll never give that up! I’ll always bake Butter Basted Turkey Legs and Thighs with Fresh Herbs, or a similar version for myself. I’ll roast a store-bought Tofurkey for John.e and McKenna. And, of course we will all share the sides.
These Butter Basted Turkey Legs and Thighs with Fresh Herbs filled our home with that familiar smell of turkey roasting in my mom’s oven, stuffed with a buttery, savoury stuffing. Even though John.e and McKenna don’t eat meat, they both commented on how good it smelled and how inviting it was.
To me, there’s nothing that compares to the familiar smell of a turkey roasting in the oven. It brings me back to my childhood, to a simpler time, to a time when our family would celebrate the holidays together with traditions that will always be a part of who I am. Even though I love Tofurkey, I have to prepare real turkey even if just for the smell. It’s the definition of comfort and good times, at least for me.
This particular meal was made complete with my Herb Butter Mashed Potatoes, Savoury Roasted Carrots, Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms, Baguette Stuffing with Swiss Chard and Caramelized Onions, Easy Oven Roasted Beets, and topped it all off with Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy.
It was quite the meal with lots of leftovers too! And, do you know that leftovers means? Couldn’ts!!!! Yes, I know it’s not a word, but that’s what it’s called. The stuff you couldn’t eat yesterday, that you must eat today. This is John.e’s favourite part of celebratory dinner.
I’ll take all of the leftovers and put them in a skillet with butter and fry them up to resemble a breakfast hash. I’ll dice up the carrots, chop up the Brussels sprouts, dice the leftover Tofurkey, toss in the mashed potatoes and the stuffing, fry it until it browns, then pour over the reheated gravy. So delicious!
Now, in true Newfie fashion, I couldn’t possibly have a turkey dinner without two very popular Newfoundland condiments. You Newfoundlander’s will know exactly what I’m talking about. Because gravy is never enough, I also had to have a few pieces of my Pickled Beets, and a generous helping of my Mustard Pickles. Those two will complete any turkey dinner!
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Butter Basted Turkey Legs and Thighs with Fresh Herbs
- 4 whole turkey legs, skin on; bone in
- 4 whole turkey thighs, skin on; bone in
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon fresh summer savoury, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet or pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- NOTE: If you purchase frozen turkey legs and thighs, they must be fully thawed and at room temperature before attempting this recipe.
- Pat the turkey legs and thighs completely dry with paper towels. Set them aside.
- Combine the butter, summer savoury, thyme leaves, rosemary, onion flakes, salt, and pepper. Whisk it all together until the herbs and seasonings are well incorporated into the butter.
- Use about two tablespoons of the butter mixture to fully massage each piece of turkey with. This is messy, but the best way to do it is to pick up the turkey leg or thigh in one hand, scoop a mound of butter into your other hand, and massage the butter completely around the turkey. It should be coated thick.
- Transfer the butter-slathered turkey to the baking sheet, being careful to not let the pieces overlap and not to touch the side of the baking pan.
- Cover with foil, and bake for one hour.
- Remove from oven, baste each piece of turkey with the melted butter and turkey juices in the pan. Cover and return to the oven. Repeat this every fifteen minutes for the next hour. Leave the foil off the last 15 minutes.
- Transfer the turkey to a serving platter, spoon over some of the butter and herbs. Garnish with more rosemary, summer savoury, and thyme if you wish, and serve.
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