When you need a smaller, simpler and faster alternative to a whole roast turkey, and when you want more easy-to-eat meat than drumsticks provide, turkey thighs are the perfect solution. These tender, juicy, flavorful poultry pieces roast beautifully in the oven, and they're a cinch to prep and season. While roasting an entire bird is a famously daunting task, even novice home cooks can readily handle this job. The hardest part is deciding on the which mouth-watering combination of your favorite herbs and spices you're going to use.
Prepare a seasoning paste to apply to the turkey thighs. Combine a few of your favorite fresh herbs and spices, such as garlic, sage, thyme, tarragon, basil or rosemary. If using whole or large spices, you can mash them together with a mortar and pestle or a food processor. Stir in a small amount of cooking oil to give the rub a spreadable consistency.
Cut a few deep slits into the turkey skin with a sharp knife. Apply a coating of your rub to the entire surface of the meat with a cooking brush. Stick the thighs in the refrigerator for up to several hours to marinate.
Take the thighs out of the refrigerator about a half hour ahead of cooking time. They'll cook more quickly and evenly if they're not too chilled when they go into the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit during this time. Also, line the bottom of your roasting pan with foil and grease its rack with nonstick spray.
Place the turkey thighs on the roasting pan, skin-side down. Put them into the middle of the oven and roast them for 30 minutes. Then, turn the thighs over and continue cooking them until their centers reach 165 F, as measured with an instant-read meat thermometer. Make sure the stem of the thermometer isn't in contact with bone while taking a reading. It should take about another 30 minutes to finish cooking, depending on the size of the thighs.
Transfer the thighs to a plate, and tent it loosely with foil. Let the thighs rest for 15 minutes or so before serving.