Recipe: Nancy's Oven-Roasted Turkey with Gravy
About 10 to 12 servings
For the turkey:
- 1 fresh unstuffed turkey, about 12 to 14 pounds
- Salt and pepper
- Several stems of fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage or a mix of all)
- Large roasting pan with rack
- 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- Cheesecloth (1 package or 2 square yards)
For the gravy:
- Giblets broth (see below)
- Wondra quick-mixing flour
- Salt and pepper
- Canned chicken stock, as needed (I use Swanson's)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove neck and giblets (reserving the liver for the dog), rinse and place in a large saucepan, cover by a few inches with cold water and simmer for approximately two hours or until you've got about two cups of liquid. You'll use this for gravy-making, later.
2. Thoroughly rinse turkey with cold water then pat dry with paper towels. Season the bird inside and out with salt and pepper, put the herbs deep into the cavity and place on a rack in a roasting pan (if you don't have a rack , just put in directly into the roaster).
3. Melt butter. Fold the cheesecloth into a multilayer rectangle, quarter it and place in the melted butter. Unfold the saturated cheesecloth and drape it over the turkey, making certain to cover the entire breast and most of the drumsticks.
4. Roast, basting over the cheesecloth, for about 3 to 3-½ hours, or until the internal temperature reads at least 165 degrees in the inner-most part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. (See turkey chart for approximate roasting times).
5. Basting notes: The bird should begin throwing juices after 45 minutes or so. If the pan remains dry longer than that, spoon some giblets broth over the bird and suck any juices out of the cavity with a bulb baster to add to the pan.
6. Remove the fully roasted turkey to a cutting board and remove the cheesecloth before letting the turkey rest.
7. Make the gravy by placing the roasting pan and accumulated juices directly on the stove, covering two (same side) burners, turned on low. Stir in a cup or so of the giblets broth and when the liquid begins to simmer, sprinkle judicious amounts of Wondra (approximately a tablespoon at a time), alternately with more giblets broth or canned broth if needed, whisking until the gravy thickens. Taste as you stir, adding salt and pepper to season. This should take about 10 minutes, max.
From Nancy Leson, Seattle Times restaurant critic
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