HERB-ROASTED TURKEY WITH CIDER PAN GRAVY
Yield: 8-10 servings
One 10-12 lb. fresh turkey
Kosher salt, cracked black pepper to taste
¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 Tbl. mixed chopped fresh herbs (2 Tbl. if using dried herbs) such as thyme, savory, parsley, rosemary, or marjoram
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 small onion, cut into quarters
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
4 Tbl. butter
1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. apple cider
2 1/2 - 3 c. turkey stock (use defatted reserved pan juices along with additional
stock as needed)
Pre-heat the oven to 325. Remove the neck and giblets, saving for stock or gravy if desired. Rinse out the inside of the turkey and pat the skin dry. Place in a large heavy roasting pan breast-side up on a wire rack and tuck the wing tips so they don’t burn. Season the bird inside & out with kosher salt and black pepper and carefully use your fingers to separate the skin from the meat creating pockets. Combine the soft butter with the fresh herbs, salt, and pepper, and rub the butter generously underneath the skin and all over the top outside of bird as well.
Place the chopped onions, carrots, and celery inside the cavity along with extra sprigs of herbs (if stuffing the bird instead please see ‘turkey tips’). Roast unstuffed turkey for 18-20 minutes per pound, basting with the drippings frequently until the thickest part of the thigh registers 170 on a meat thermometer. Remove from the oven, transfer to another tray or carving board, tent loosely with foil, and allow the turkey to rest for at least 30-40 minutes before carving (please see ‘turkey tips’ for carving).
While the turkey is resting prepare the gravy. Pour off and reserve the juices in roasting pan, discarding any excess fat. Place the pan on the stove over medium-low heat and melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute. Add the cider followed by small amounts of the turkey stock, whisking vigorously to incorporate the flour until no lumps remain before adding additional stock. Once all of the flour is incorporated whisk in remaining stock and simmer, scraping up flavorful bits on the bottom of pan. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until reduced to desired consistency. Taste for salt and pepper and keep warm until serving.
SAUSAGE, APPLE, & HERB STUFFING
Yield: 8 servings (enough for a 12 lb. turkey)
8 c. dry bread cubes* (white, wheat, challah or brioche)
1 lb. bulk sweet Italian sausage (use links squished out of casings)
4 Tbl. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
¼ c. fresh chopped parsley (or 1 Tbl. dried)
1 Tbl. fresh chopped sage leaves (or 1 tsp. dried)
½ tsp. thyme leaves (or pinch dried)
Cracked black pepper, to taste
2 lg. apples, peeled and chopped
½-1 c. chicken stock, or more as needed
*To prepare the bread cubes, cut or tear bread of choice into 1” pieces and place on a large baking sheet. Bake at 250 for 20-25 minutes, tossing occasionally, until dried out a bit but not crispy (bread can also be air-dried overnight on a cookie sheet to stale). Cool and transfer to a large bowl.
Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until it begins to brown, 7-8 minutes, breaking up the meat as much as possible. Add the butter along with onion, celery, herbs, and black pepper and cook until the veggies are tender and sausage is fully cooked, approx. 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the sausage mixture to the bread cubes along with the chopped apples, tossing gently to incorporate everything. Allow the mixture to sit for 10-15 minutes for bread to absorb the pan juices before adding chicken stock as needed to moisten (the stuffing should be moist but not wet and soggy. It will pick up additional moisture from inside the turkey). Allow the stuffing to cool completely and refrigerate until ready to use. Note: this can be prepared to this point and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen.
This stuffing can go inside a turkey or chicken (see ‘turkey tips’ for proper stuffing method), or can be baked separately in a shallow buttered casserole dish at 350 for 40-45 minutes. Cover with tinfoil for the first 25 minutes of cooking and then uncover to allow the top to get brown and crusty.
Variations: Mushrooms, nuts, & dried cranberries would all be good additions.
Buying a Turkey
- Allow 1 lb. of turkey per person, or 1 ½ lb. for leftovers.
- If using a frozen turkey place in a large shallow pan in the refrigerator to thaw, allowing 4-5 days for a 20 lb. turkey.
Preparing the Bird
- Remove the neck and giblets, saving for stock or gravy if desired.
- Rinse the turkey inside and out and pat dry…..place in a large heavy roasting pan breast-side up on a wire rack.
- Season the bird inside & out with kosher salt and black pepper. Combine olive oil or soft butter with a blend of fresh herbs such as thyme, sage, rosemary, parsley, or marjoram and rub this mixture generously over the outside of the bird (can also rub some underneath the skin).
- Never stuff a turkey in advance due to bacteria. This should always be done just before roasting. Pack the stuffing loosely in the cavity and tie together the legs with string or simply block the opening with a ball of tinfoil (if the bird is not going to be stuffed place chunks of carrots, celery, onion, and whole herbs in the cavity for flavor).
- Roast the turkey in a preheated 325 oven for approximately 18-20 minutes per pound for unstuffed, 20-25 minutes per pound for stuffed turkey, basting with the drippings in the pan every 30 minutes.
Note: roasting times are only guidelines…..the turkey must reach a minimum of 170 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh to be safe. Also, the internal temperature of the stuffing in the bird has to reach a minimum of 170.
* Remove turkey from the oven and allow it to rest, tented loosely with foil, for a minimum of 30 (and up to 60) minutes before carving.
- Remove the stuffing from the cavity and keep warm. Remove the wings and legs at the joint using a sharp knife. Make a horizontal cut to the bone at the base of the breast and carve off slices top down. Alternatively, the breast can be removed completely as one whole piece and sliced on a cutting board.