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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: January 13, 2014.

It’s that magical time of year when families from all around the country come together to prepare the Thanksgiving Feast. Here at Sonoma Christian Home, we have some great ideas to help you make this Thanksgiving one of the tastiest celebrations ever!

First, we urge you to consider buying a fresh turkey. There is no doubt you will definitely taste the difference over a frozen bird.

Here in the wine country, we are blessed to live close to the famous Willie Bird Turkey Ranch, in the fertile farmland of Sonoma Valley.

This family run business began when farmer Walter Benedetti started raising turkeys in 1948. His son Willie took the family business to a new level when he developed the formula for the famous Smoked Willie Bird Turkey.

Their fresh organic turkeys are raised on certified organic grains, without the use of growth-hormones or antibiotics. The birds are given the freedom to roam the farm in the fresh air and sunshine. Fresh organic turkeys from the Willie Bird ranch in Sonoma County are considered some of the juiciest, most flavorful birds in the country.

A famous story about the Willie Bird Ranch goes like this –

“One day the Queen of England wanted smoked duck – at least, the people who serve her food did. When the Royal Yacht, Britannica, pulled into San Francisco Bay, the caterer for the royal, on-board feast knew exactly who to call to meet their needs – Willie Bird Turkeys in Sonoma, California.”

They’ve become so popular, people order them online from all over the country. Their fresh and smoked poultry is featured on the menus of first class hotels, restaurants, and in gourmet food catalogs, including Williams-Sonoma!

Here is the link to their website:

How Much Turkey to Buy

For average eaters, a good rule of thumb is 1 lb. per person. To ensure leftovers, plan on ordering 1 1/2 lb. per person. For example, for a party of 12 you should order an 18 lb. turkey.


For more great Thanksgiving recipes check out Erica’s yummy side dishes –

Brandied Chestnut and Sausage Stuffing with Mission Figs

Sweet Potato Souffle


Willy Bird Roasted Turkey
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
  • A 12- to 14-pound turkey
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper
  • Cheesecloth
  • For Garnish: fresh sage leaves and thyme & rosemary sprigs for garnish
  • 3-4 Pomegranates, Persimmons and or and 4-6 Figs
  1. Rinse the turkey, pat it dry, and season it inside and out with salt and pepper.
  2. Pack the body cavity loosely with some of the remaining stuffing and truss the turkey. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in an open roasting pan.
  3. Prepare the Herb Butter Seasoning for the Cheesecloth: Over medium-low heat, combine the butter, herbs and seasonings. Stir until well blended, remove from heat. Place a four-layer piece of cheesecloth (large enough to drape down the sides of the bird) into the herb butter mixture and let it soak, and cool down.
  4. Massage the turkey with some of the butter herb mixture, making sure to get it under the skin and into the breasts and thighs.
  5. Roast the turkey in a preheated 425º oven for 30 minutes.
  6. Reduce the heat to 325º F., baste the turkey with the pan juices, then cover the turkey with the cheesecloth that has soaked in the herb butter mixture, letting it drape down over the sides.
  7. Lifting the cheesecloth, baste every 30 minutes with the herb butter herb mixture, until it’s gone, then start using the natural juices from the pan. While cooking, the cheesecloth may get very dark, but that’s normal.
  8. Approximately 1 hour before your turkey should be done, remove the cheesecloth, to brown. Baste again after 30 minutes.
  9. Allow three to four hours for a 4–8 pound turkey, four to four and one-half hours for an 8–12 pound turkey, four and one-half to five hours for a 12–16 pound turkey.
  10. To test for doneness, move the leg joint up and down. It should give easily or break, or, when inserted in a thigh, a meat thermometer should registers 180º F or 170º when inserted in the breast. If you don’t have a thermometer, pierce the thick part of the thigh with a sharp knife, the juices should run clear.
  11. Remove the turkey, place onto a cutting board and let rest 20-30 minutes, covered loosely with foil. Carve the turkey and transfer to a heated serving dish.
  12. Garnish the turkey with the sage leaves, thyme and rosemary sprigs, and halved pomegranates, figs and or persimmons.
*Remember, if you buy a frozen turkey; allow approximately 3 days to thaw in the refrigerator.


Erica Galindo is the Founder and Editor in Chief, of Sonoma Christian Home Online Magazine – “One of the fastest growing Christian Women’s Magazines Online.”

Married to the love of her life, Erica lives with her husband David and their fifteen-year-old son Jack, in beautiful Sonoma County, California. In addition to being a digital entrepreneur, Erica is a passionate home chef. She loves entertaining and reinventing classic recipes with her unique brand of Sonoma style home cooking.


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At this time, we ask you refrain from purchasing on the Sonoma Christian Home store. We are in the process of performing updates and in the meantime we would ask you hold off on new orders. We will make an announcement once our store is back in action! Dismiss