Tarragon and Onion Stuffed Roast Turkey [Paleo][Low Carb]

We used one ~22 lb. monster of a turkey, some fresh organic carrots, sweet onions, various red and sweet potatoes, and some peppers. Stuff and season as you like with whatever fruits and veggies are in season in your area. You really can't go wrong! This is my preemptive Thanksgiving turkey since the birds are on sale now, we didn't have room in our freezer, and I can't pass up roast turkey. Reader beware that now you'll see turkey, turkey, and nothing but turkey leftover recipes for the next three hundred posts since only Jon and I are chomping down on this feller :) If you have whole cranberries, dates, figs or other fall fruits they'd be great here also, especially in the "stuffing." I didn't do gluten free bread stuffing since we don't really do much bread (we're corn tortilla and seaweed wraps type of folks) and I am lazy. Maybe a future turkey will feature stuffing, no promises though :)

1 large turkey (our was ~22 lbs)
2 large organic sweet potatoes
4 large sweet onions
4 jalapeños with seeds
5 large organic carrots
4 medium organic red potatoes
~5 c. water (to baste turkey in as it cooks)*
1 lemon, seeded and sliced

*You can also use gluten free chicken or vegetable broth, San-J wheat free tamari, or Bragg's but I did not use any of these here. If you do use tamari or Braggs (or many vegetable broths), be aware that your recipe is no longer soy free.

Italian seasoning
dried rosemary
garlic powder
cayenne pepper
chili powder
hot curry powder (optional)

First, take out a giant heavy-duty roaster pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You want to use a defrosted or fresh turkey so that you'll be able to remove the neck and innards (kidney, liver, heart) which are inside the turkey cavity. I tried once to remove those from a still half frozen bird and all I did was waste hot water, time, and my patience, only to end up with freezing cold hands and a bad temper. Open the packaging and line the sink with plastic bags so the raw turkey juice doesn't spill everywhere and dirty the whole sink. As you clean it off with cold water, dig inside both ends of the bird to remove the neck and bag of organs. Sometimes I keep the liver and stuff to cook since my mom loves liver, but this time I didn't. If you do cook and eat these, be careful not to overdo it on the cholesterol. Also, organ meats are better suited for protein type metabolisms, so if you're a carb type you might want to bulk up on the low fat white meat and tone down the dark meat and organ meats. To each his own, remember everything in moderation!

After the bird is washed, place it in your rack and/or roasting pan. Pour in the water to form a base for basting and for great turkey soup stock later. Wash your potatoes, carrots, and peppers thoroughly and pat dry. I chopped my carrots only in half so we could have nice roasted carrot "sticks," but sliced carrots work great also. I left all my potatoes whole for turkey flavored roast potatoes. I only smashed/sliced open the potatoes right before serving to make them a more manageable size for Jon. Slice the jalapeños and lemon and set aside. I chopped up 2 of the onions and thinly sliced the other two onions. The sliced onions I used along with the sliced lemon for stuffing underneath the turkey skin, along with the bulk of the seasonings, as shown below.

You'll most likely want to stuff your turkey before you add the surrounding vegetables; you don't want to knock the side vegetables out of the pan while you stuff the bird.

Spice and Onion Stuffing Method:

I first slid my fingers up under the skin at both the neck breast area and later in the rear turkey area in order to loosen the skin. I worked my fingers up under the skin to separate the skin from the meat while being cautious not to rip the skin. It takes a little practice, but I think I got started early on this method in high school anatomy class skinning a cat for dissection. Gross, I know, but very educational. Anyways, getting back to the turkey: the reason why I dry rub the seasonings mostly under the skin is that we don't really eat the skin since, even with free range birds, the fat is mostly saturated. I'd rather get my fat from better quality sources like flax, hemp and hemp powder, olive, and coconut oils.

Once the skin is loose, mix all of the seasonings in a small bowl and take a little at a time in your fingers and rub onto the meat (under the skin). I use about 90% of the seasoning under the skin and rub the rest on the outside of the skin. After all of the seasoning has been applied to the meat (remember to get the breast and back), then slide small slices of onion and lemon under the skin as well. These under-the-skin onions get nice and mushy-tender while the onions reserved for the pans get a nice blackened and roasted, almost caramelized taste. I like the variety, but if you don't want to bother with all this under the skin stuff then don't.

Now that all of the dry rub seasonings and onion slices have been stuffed under the skin, rub the remaining half of the spice on the outside of the turkey. Place your chopped carrots, chopped onions, and whole red potatoes around the bird wherever you can fit them. I "stuffed" the cavity with the two whole sweet potatoes and a few pieces of chopped onion. Lastly, add the sliced jalapeños and seeds over the top. Sprinkle the rest of the seasonings over the veggies before roasting.

Bake at 350 degrees on the bottom rack of the oven for about 10-15 minutes per pound (my mother always said 20 minutes per pound to be safe, but I've found that makes the turkey breast too dry). You want the final temperature to be at least 160 degrees as measured from the thickest part of the breast. I baked ours for about 5 hours or so while basting it every hour. Once the skin obtained the brownish roasted looking hue shown in the pictures, I covered the top loosely with aluminum foil in the last two hours of baking so that the skin wouldn't burn.

We enjoyed this awesome turkey with my Easy Coconut Brown Rice, organic (no corn syrup) cranberry sauce, and some garlic sage mixed veggies on the side. Don't forget that the roasted veggies from the turkey are a great side dish also! You can use the juices from the turkey as dressing or you can thicken the juice with cornstarch to make an easy gravy. If you like the canned cranberry sauces, be careful to check the ingredients for corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. I have found that the organic varieties sold here do not contain corn syrup, but they do have evaporated cane juice. The cane juice is considered more "natural" sugar, but it it still sugar so watch the glycemic impact.

Turkey Soup Base Sidenote:

I plan to use the strained juice from the turkey as a broth base for some turkey soup made with the leftover large bones, carcass, and some organic apple cider vinegar. The vinegar helps leach calcium from the bones while your boil the bones for soup broth. After boiling and simmering the bones, remove them and let the broth cool. Refrigerate overnight. The overnight refrigeration allows the fat to congeal at the top so you can spoon it off the next day in preparation for turkey soup. I'll post the soup recipe later this or next week with our leftovers.

Cindalou's Kitchen Blues: Healthy Celiac / Coeliac Gluten and Dairy Free Recipes


  1. Wow- great post! My mom and I made a huge Heritage turkey last year and she had leftovers for weeks, which she defrosted for chilis, soups, and salads. Yumm! Do you freeze the cooked turkey in small portions too?

    We follow a similar technique of separating the skin from the meat, but we put lemon slices, lemon juice, and freshly minced herbs in instead - I love how the lemon helps to tenderize the meat but doesn't make it sour. You crack me up with your anatomy class comment. We bake the turkey in a Reynold's bag breast side down to prevent the white meat from drying out. I just substitute a tablespoon of gf flour (or potato starch for Passover) and it works great. I hear you on the stuffing - we never did stuffing before I was gf and are not stuffing people, though we have one wild rice-cranberry-almond recipe which is sort of stuffing-like that is quite tasty (and probably relatively low glycemic index since wild rice is an aquatic grass).

    I'm anxious to see whether you use the neck and innards in your soup. I never knew that the vinegar helps leach out the calcium in to the broth...good to know! Take care!

  2. Your recipes look delicious. I have been looking for dairy free recipes especially for my son who has been have severe GI problems.


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