Thanksgiving is truly one of my favorite holidays. I love the food, the break from school or work, and the true opening night to the holiday season. I love a party, and when are there more parties to attend than the holidays? Nearly all of my Thanksgiving repertoire can be found on my website in one place or another. I’m going to post Turkey, Gravy, Stuffing/Dressing, Haricots Verts with Almonds, Mashed Potatoes, Pumpkin Pie and Bourbon Pecan Pie this week so they’ll all be available at the top of the page for your Thanksgiving prep work – no searching required. Get your aprons out and your Chef hats on!
My top 5 turkey rules for home cooks. Your mileage may vary, but these are the rules I live by.
- I don’t brine any more. It destroys the gravy. Brining is thought to lead to a moister bird, but follow the other rules and you won’t have those issues anyway.
- Do not attempt to prepare the turkey straight out of the refrigerator. I let mine rest for an hour, otherwise the temperature change from fridge to oven is too shocking!
- High Heat at the start, then reduce the temperature.
- Use real butter. It just makes for better flavor.
- Let the turkey stand at least 15 – up to 30 minutes before carving.
Perfect Roast Turkey
16 lb turkey
fresh ground pepper
2 tsp herbes de provence, (I like Morton & Basset the other brands contain fennel which is overpowering to me)
4 cloves garlic
1 and 1/2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp butter
Bring the thawed turkey out of the refrigerator approx 1 hour before cooking to bring closer to room temperature. Preheat oven to 425. Rinse turkey with water, inside and out. Remove neck and giblets from the inside of the turkey. Pat turkey dry with paper towels then place on a V-shaped Roasting rack in a roasting pan. Inside the turkey cavity, add two teaspoons kosher salt, 20 turns fresh ground pepper, Herbes de Provence, and garlic cloves.
Drizzle skin with melted butter, then sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and paprika. Roast in oven for 30 minutes. Use additional butter to rub on skin, then reduce oven temperature to 325. Roast for about 2 hours longer – rubbing butter on skin every 30 minutes. Begin checking internal temperature in thick part of thigh and breast after total cook time of two hours. Turkey is done when the internal temp reads 175, be sure to check with thermometer between leg and thigh as well as in thickest part of the breast. Tilt turkey at an angle to pour cavity juices into drippings. Remove turkey to a cutting board to rest.
Turkey Gravy Recipe
Drippings from Roast Turkey
All Purpose Flour
2 qts turkey stock
Fresh Ground Pepper
I come from the school of thought that it’s impossible to have too much gravy. So I never reduce down from the amount of pan drippings, but you can – the important thing is to be close to a 1:1 ratio of drippings to flour. With a bird of this size, I usually have around 1/2 c. drippings. Pour drippings into a measuring cup, then pour back the quantity you want to your roasting pan. Position the roasting pan over two burners over medium high heat. Add an equal amount of flour, then whisk over medium high heat until browned and paste like, about five minutes. The longer you brown your flour, the darker your gravy will be. Slowly! (this is key to preventing clumps) add turkey stock, whisking constantly to combine. Increase heat to high. Bring to a boil whisking constantly until thickened. If gravy is too thick add additional stock, if gravy is too thin, keep boiling to thicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
**If you have troubles with your gravy being lumpy, I have another method posted in this Turkey Recipe. It involves shaking the flour with stock or water in a water bottle to combine before adding to the drippings. The flavor is not quite as rich and deep as with browned flour, but you may find it a bit easier of methods.
**Turkey Stock can be made or purchased. I’d recommend Kitchen Basics brand – in Dallas available at both Central Market and Albertsons. I haven’t seen it at Tom Thumb yet, but I’d imagine they may well have it during season. You can sub chicken broth will good result, but go for the turkey if you can find it.