Tangerine Scented Roasted Turkey

1 15 lb turkey
4 tangerines, quartered
1 small onion, quartered
dried sage
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400. Sprinkle the onion and tangerine quarters with sage. Meanwhile, rinse the (empty) turkey off with cold water. Place on the rack and position in the roasting pan. Squirt the turkey with 1/2 tangerine. Rub the turkey with a tablespoon of oil and salt and pepper. Stick 1 1/2 tangerine and the onion inside the empty cavity of the turkey. Arrange 4 quarters around the bird. Squeeze the juice from the remaining tangerine into the bottom of the pan. Roast at 400 for ½ an hour then reduce heat to 325 and continue to roast for about 2 ½ hours, basting with juices from the pan every ½ hour, or until the juices run clear and the leg is easily moved. You may choose to tent the breast of the turkey about ½ an hour in for tender meat. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes before carving.

My thoughts:

When I make a big meal, I like to come up with flavor themes. It cuts down on the number of ingredients I have to buy and insures that all of the components of the meal come together. Last year I went all out with a apple cider and Madeira theme. This year I kept it a little more simple and used tangerine in the cranberry sauce and in the turkey (which in turn flavored the stuffing a bit). I got the idea for a tangerine infused turkey from those old recipes that call for sticking a lemon inside a chicken then roasting it. This is similar, but in this case, much better-tangerines seem so much more festive and special this time of year. Not to mention the availability of really juicy tangerines this year makes not using them a shame.

Re: Brining. I’ve gotten a lot of emails about brining this year. We’ve done it in the past, but if you have a good quality turkey, I don’t really see the need. It does make the bird moist, but so does buying a good turkey and cooking it properly. And if you aren’t careful with the brine, you might end up with a salty, inedible turkey.


  1. The salt content in brine solutions always worries me a bit. Did you see that America’s Test Kitchen says frozen turkeys are best – and stay most moist? That was great news, right?! Something about fresh turkeys being kept at temperatures that encourage ice crystals to form, leading to a drier finished product.

  2. how do you shop for a good turkey? i don’t know the first thing about picking a good one out of the bunch…

  3. That sounds so good! And looks beautiful. I can’t get enough of tangerines, or oranges of any kind, and I love fruity+savory. This is going on my list of keepers…

  4. Rachael: Here’s a good link that talks about types of turkeys and their flavor profiles. Hope it helps: