Even though the thought of hosting Thanksgiving and roasting a turkey can strike fear into the bravest soul, it does not have to be frightening. Because what would Thanksgiving be without roast turkey? As a matter of fact, most of us can not imagine the holiday without turkey and all of it fixings.
For this reason, we have broken roasting a turkey into simple steps. Once you have a turkey, a delicious roast turkey requires just a few additional ingredients. Based on the weight of your turkey, you will need to figure out your roasting time and then work backwards from your serving time to determine when you need to start roasting your turkey.
We highly recommend that you do not stuff your bird. With this in mind, this recipe calls for the turkey to be cooked separately from the stuffing. Stuffing the bird causes uneven cooking times, is unnecessary and is considered by many, including the USDA to be unsafe. The internal temperature of the stuffing must reach 165° which may cause your turkey to be overcooked. Because of this, we suggest cooking your stuffing separately in a casserole dish. We have included a list of cooking equipment that you will need below.
Equipment you will need:
A roasting pan large enough for your turkey with a roasting rack
Aluminum foil, to tent the bird, if necessary
A cup, bottle, or mason jar with a lid to make the slurry for the gravy
Medium sized non-stick saucepan
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Roast Turkey & Gravy
Adjust oven racks to fit turkey and roasting pan.
If brining, an hour before roasting time, remove turkey from brine. Rinse turkey under cool water thoroughly. Be sure to rinse under the wings and inside the cavity. Rinse the turkey until all the brine is removed. Pat turkey dry with paper towels.
Discard remaining brine.
Melt butter in a saucepan and add spices, mix well.
Using a basting brush, spread the butter mix all over the entire bird.
Take fresh sage leave, thyme sprigs and cut lemon and place inside the cavity.
Tuck the wings into the neck. It is sometimes helpful to cut small slits into the skin to hold the wings in place.
Loosely tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
Fill the roasting pan with the leeks, onions, celery, giblets and 1 of the 32 oz. containers of stock.
Place turkey, breast side up on the roasting rack and place in the preheated oven.
Baste turkey every 45 minutes.
If the skin starts to get too brown on the legs or the breast, tent loosely with aluminum foil.
If needed, add more stock to the roasting pan, reserving 1 cup for the gravy.
Roast turkey until the internal temperature reaches 165°. Place thermometer in the thickest part of the breast, avoiding the bone.
When the turkey at temperature, remove it from the oven and let it rest. The turkey will be easier to carve if allowed to rest for 45 minutes. The turkey will stay hot if left to rest.
Remove turkey from pan and place on a large cutting board or tray. Set aside.
Pour the juice from the roasting pan into the gravy separator and set aside. The fat will rise to the top allowing you to pour out the juice minus the fat.
If using the giblets in the gravy, chop into finely diced pieces, if not already done and set aside.
Deglaze the pan by using a wooden spoon to scrape the pieces off the bottom of the pan. If the bits are stuck, heat the roasting pan over 2 burners and add 1/2 cup turkey stock, while using the spoon to scrap the bottom of the pan.
Add the bits and stock to a medium saucepan.
Add the juice from the fat separator to the saucepan, making sure to not add the fat. Stir well.
The juice is clear so you will be able to clearly see when you have reached the fat.
Add remaining stock to the saucepan and stir.
In a small bottle, cup or mason jar, add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water, shake well. This is called a slurry.
Add to the saucepan and stir over medium heat. You want to repeat the slurry process a little at a time until you reach the desired thickness of your gravy.
Salt to taste.