Mustard and Rosemary Roast Turkey


Because so many people are hesitant to make a whole turkey, cookbook author Melissa Clark suggests roasting the turkey in parts, separating the dark meat from the white meat to guarantee a perfectly cooked bird. Clark also removes the stress of making the gravy after the turkey comes out of the oven with a make-ahead port and black pepper gravy.

Mustard-and-Rosemary Roast Turkey
Photo: © John Kernick
Active Time:
30 mins
Refrigerate Time:
8 hrs
Total Time:
10 hrs 15 mins
8 to 10 servings



  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

  • 1 (12-pound) turkey, cut into breasts, wings, and legs/thighs (have your butcher do this)

  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

Port and Black Pepper Gravy

  • 1 stick unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons port

  • 5 cups turkey stock


Make the Turkey

  1. In a bowl, combine the mustard, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper and blend well. Rub the mixture all over the turkey. Arrange the breasts on a large rimmed baking sheet and the wings and legs/thighs on another baking sheet. Refrigerate uncovered overnight.

  2. Preheat the oven to 450°F with the racks set in the upper and lower thirds. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  3. Divide the onion and wine around the turkey on the baking sheets. Roast the white meat in the lower third of the oven and the dark meat in the upper third for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and roast the white meat for 20 minutes longer and the dark meat for 30 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 165°F. Discard the onion. Let the turkey rest for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with the Port and Black Pepper Gravy.

Make the Gravy

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and pepper and season with salt to taste. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 10 minutes.

  2. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until deep golden in color, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the port and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes.


To make the gravy even more delicious, you can strain the turkey pan juices here and skim the fat, then whisk the juices into the gravy when you add the port and stock.

Make Ahead

The gravy can be refrigerated for 3 days and reheated before serving.

Suggested Pairing

An earthy, spicy Rhône red: 2014 Château de Saint Cosme Gigondas.

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