A Broadway Thanksgiving: Recipes to Stop the Show

By Playbill Staff
26 Nov 2013

Melissa Errico

The Star: Melissa Errico's Thanksgiving Turkey
This recipe is shared by Tony Award nominee Errico, and her mother, Angela

There are better chefs out there than me, but you follow this, you will have a delicious turkey. For all those actors out there who haven't quite had the time to learn much about the kitchen, buy these things: a large deep tin pan, a turkey baster and tin foil. That's it! The rest is a few groceries. You CAN do this.


11-12 lb turkey
20 sprigs of herbs such as thyme, rosemary, sage and oregano
2 onions peeled and halved
One lemon
Two oranges
3/4 cup of butter for turkey or more (depending on size)
3 cups of water

  • The simple road to a good 11-12 lb turkey: Plan on 3½ hours. (13 minutes per lb)
  • Buy 20 whole sprigs of herbs such as thyme, rosemary, sage and oregano. Divide them up.
  • Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  • Wash the bird, remove the giblets and neck (save for making gravy). Pat it dry with paper towels.
  • Breast side up in a big roast pan, butter the entire thing and wrap wings with foil so they don't burn. (You can also mix in some minced fresh herbs to the butter or do this later.)
  • Cut up onions, one lemon and two oranges and stuff cavity. Fancy chefs call these "aromatics!" Also, put 10 of the herb sprigs in the cavity. Add 3 cups water and the remaining 10 herb sprigs to the pan.
  • If you didn't flavor the butter earlier, now is the time to season with salt, pepper, sage, rosemary, thyme, ginger and oregano as you like - rub in with the butter all over the place.
  • Many people insist on getting a few pads of butter under the breast skin to keep the meat more moist. You can use your finger to carefully loosen the skin around the entire bird.
  • Put in the oven. Use the lower third of the oven. Roast 45 minutes and then lower to 350 degrees F for the rest of the time. I believe you must baste it every 20 minutes for it to look like a storybook.
  • Tip: Shield the breast meat with foil toward the end of cooking if it starts getting too browned.
  • Turkey is ready at 165 degrees F. (I like turkeys with the thermometer built in.)
  • Let the turkey rest 20 minutes before you cut it. Cover it in foil while it sits.
  • Additional option: Add 1 (32-ounce) bag celery and carrot party sticks in the pan (along with one largely-diced onion) while all the turkey prep is happening. Ignore those veggies during the roast and they'll taste nice at the end. Just another side dish or pleasant garnish later.

Errico also shares her husband's favorite Thanksgiving side:

This is Patrick McEnroe's speciality: Roast some Brussels sprouts (slice in half, sprinkle with salt pepper) in a 400 degree oven on a cookie sheet with olive oil for 35-45 minutes (until slightly brown and crisp). Add toasted almond slices midway through baking. Just before you serve, sprinkle fresh fancy Parmesan cheese. Also - the key is to squeeze lemon on the Brussels sprouts just before serving. People will flip!