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turkey and gravy, oh my!


There are so many Thanksgiving recipes to get posted before the big day!  I figured, I better get the star of the show up soon, as in today!

The turkey here is trussed, which means the wings and legs are bound closed. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps cook evenly, reduces shrinkage by about 15%, and also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.

The pictures here are lifted from the internet and will be replaced with my pictures when I actually make my turkey next week. Until then…

Hopkins’ Thanksgiving Roasted Turkey with Caramelized Onion & Herb Gravy

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup apricot preserves
3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons minced fresh sage plus 8 large whole sage leaves, divided
Grated zest from 1 large orange
4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds red onions, peeled and sliced
5 shallots, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
14- to 15-pound turkey; with neck and giblets
6 cups chicken or turkey broth, divided
5 slices prosciutto or bacon
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup dry white wine
Pinch of ground nutmeg

The day before roasting turkey:  Melt butter in a saucepan, add apricot preserves and stir until melted into butter.  Mix in minced rosemary, 3 tablespoons of the minced sage, orange zest, salt, and pepper.  Pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and allow it to sit at room temperature for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. Position rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Toss onions, shallots, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of oil in a large roasting pan. Roast until onions are golden brown, stirring every 15 minutes, about 1 hour.

Rinse turkey inside and out; dry very well.   Starting at the neck end, slide a hand under the skin of the turkey breast to loosen skin. Spread 3 tablespoons of the apricot-butter mixture under the skin over breast meat.  Arrange 4 sage leaves under the skin on each side of the breast.  Spoon stuffing loosely into the main cavity.


Truss the turkey: Use about 4 feet of cotton string.  Center the string under the bird at the neck or shoulders.  Come up and wrap the string around the wings then up over the breast, cross the strings and bring the string up under the legs, crossing them.  Tie string securely, going around a couple of times, tie nice and tight.  Melt remaining apricot butter and brush over turkey.


Place turkey atop onions in the pan, breast side down. Add neck and giblets to pan on top of onions.  Roast turkey for 30 minutes. Remove neck and giblet pieces from roasting pan, discard liver, and place remaining giblets and neck in a medium saucepan and set aside. Pour 1 cup of broth into the roasting pan over the onions. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Roast turkey for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, add 5 cups broth, and bay leaf to a saucepan with giblets and neck. Simmer until reduced to 2 cups liquid, skimming occasionally, about 1 hour. Strain turkey stock and set aside.

Turn turkey over, breast side up and continue to roast until turkey is golden brown about 1 hour 30 minutes longer. During the last 45 minutes of cooking, place the slices of prosciutto or bacon over the turkey breast to cover; continue to baste. The turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meatiest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees (the thigh juices will also run clear when pricked with a knife.) Transfer the turkey to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil and let rest for 25 minutes before carving, so the juices can settle back into the meat.

Meanwhile, make gravy:  Pour onion mixture into an 8-cup glass measuring cup; spoon off fat, reserving 3 tablespoons. Add enough of the turkey stock to the onion mixture to measure 6 cups. Using a blender or food processor, puree 3 cups of the onion mixture, once smooth add back to the other 3 cups of mixture.

Heat reserved 3 tablespoons turkey fat in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped sage; stir for 30 seconds. Add flour; whisk until flour begins to color, about 3 minutes, the mixture will be dry and lumpy. Gradually whisk in wine, then onion mixture and nutmeg.  Simmer until gravy thickens to desired consistency, adding more broth if needed, whisking frequently, about 5 minutes; add any accumulated juices from turkey platter. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve turkey with gravy.

Serves 8

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