Turkey Thighs with Thyme Butter

Thanksgivings in our wild savory kitchen have been a memorable feast for many years, always featuring our Tandoori turkey.  Sometimes twelve folks, sometimes eighteen or more, we always had two Harvest Tables that were eight feet long each.  Side by side, we feasted with family and friends every year.  And many times we had single guests with no families nearby, and sometimes new friends in need… it was all a joy, and we always have an attitude of gratitude.  

Tandoori turkeys are big boys and by far the best turkey we have ever tasted.  But lately we’ve been thinking about the folks who are not able to make a whole turkey at the holidays… single people far away from home on work or studies, newlyweds looking to begin their own traditions, single moms, families with both vegetarians and turkey lovers, folks with small kitchens or no oven, or small apartments that can’t handle the crowds, exhausted couples with a baby who want to celebrate but can’t handle a big turkey, and retired folks who have done it all and just want to keep it simple.  In this post we have just the roast turkey for you, a feast that almost anyone can make, even if they only have a toaster oven.  

We begin with turkey thighs, from two to four.  The concept is to put all of our umami ingredients under the skin and also under the thighs, as they slowly roast. If you love rich dark meat and savory umami richness, you will love this easy turkey feast.

Here is the recipe for the best tasting turkey we have ever eaten (other than our Tandoori turkey!). 


2 to 4 big turkey thighs

4 large carrots, peeled, split, and cut into two inch pieces

1 pound of brown cremini mushrooms

3/4 pound french string beans (haricot vert) 

1 pound small red creamer potatoes or small Yukon Gold, cut in equal chunks

1/4 cup olive oil, first press virgin

4 ounces unsalted butter

8 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons Porcini powder (dried Porcini ground to a powder)

1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika

1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt for each pound of turkey, plus another teaspoon for the veggies

1 teaspoon black pepper

25 to thirty sprigs of fresh thyme

These are the seasonings to apply onto EACH side of each thigh, in this order… just lift the skin up, apply and then lay the skin down on top.

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon porcini powder (just grind dried porcini)

1 clove garlic, crushed, spread on 

3 pats of butter 

4 to 5 fresh twigs of thyme, about 1 teaspoon and/or fresh sage

Prep Work

First put all the ingredients onto the bone side of each thigh, in the order given above, and then place that side down onto the broiler pan. 

Now fold back the skin side so that the flesh is exposed, but keeping the skin attached.  Apply all the ingredients in the same order and then place the skin back down on top. 


Brush olive oil onto the skin and place into an oven that is already at 425 degrees.  Roast uncovered for 60 minutes. 

Mix all the veggies in a large bowl with the olive oil, add the salt and stir until all are coated.

Add all the veggies to the turkey pan, cover with aluminum foil, and roast for another 30 minutes until the meat falls apart with a fork and the carrots are nearly ready.  

Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes until the vegetables are slightly toasty.

Remove from the heat, stir the oils on the bottom into the carrots, mushrooms, string beans and potatoes.  Loosely cover with aluminum foil and allow to cool for a few minutes so that the juices in the turkey can redistribute and the thyme flavored butter and oils penetrate all the ingredients and then serve.

If you love dark meat and savory umami richness, you will love this easy turkey feast. And it’s a fabulous way to make Pulled Turkey! Enjoy!

If you have turkey wings, toss them in as well, they are fabulous with this dish. For some spicy wings, add butter, Peri Peri and Frank’s RedHot sauce!