I learned at a young age how to handle and prepare poultry from my mother, an outstanding cook – her turkey is far superior to any that I have tasted. My mother taught me to soak turkey overnight in a bath of salt to tender and remove harmful bacteria. First, my mother would freeze a fresh turkey, she believes it seals in the flavor. Then time to soak the frozen turkey overnight. Next through rinsing, draining and patting dry of the bird. I love rituals so my mothers hold a special place in my turkey preparation. I’ve bought a fresh turkey from the farm or from high end and frozen from a lower-end grocery store. My only hard fast rule is all-natural. How you dress and cook the turkey plays an import part in how good your turkey taste.
A Simply Perfect Roast Turkey
- 1 (18 pound) whole turkey
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 quarts turkey stock
- 8 cups prepared the homemade stuffing
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Place rack in the lowest position of the oven.
- Remove the turkey neck and giblets, rinse the turkey, and pat dry with paper towels. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in the roasting pan. Loosely fill the body cavity with stuffing. Rub the skin with the softened butter, and season with salt and pepper. Position an aluminum foil tent over the turkey.
- Place turkey in the oven, and pour 2 cups turkey stock into the bottom of the roasting pan. Baste all over every 30 minutes with the juices on the bottom of the pan. Whenever the drippings evaporate, add stock to moisten them, about 1 to 2 cups at a time. Remove aluminum foil after 2 1/2 hours. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the meaty part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F (75 degrees C), about 4 hours.
- Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter, and let it stand for at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving.
For the broth:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion or leek, or 2 shallots, sliced
Neck and giblets from your turkey (discard the liver)
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 sprigs thyme, parsley, rosemary and/or sage
1 bay leaf
For the gravy:
Turkey drippings from your roasting pan
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- When your turkey goes into the oven, start the broth: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and turkey neck and giblets; cook, stirring, until the giblets are browned, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth, herb sprigs, and bay leaf; cover and simmer while the turkey roasts, about 2 hours. Strain the broth and keep warm; reserve the neck and giblets, if desired.
- When your turkey is done, transfer it to a cutting board and pour all the pan drippings into a degreasing cup. Add 1/2 cup of the prepared broth to the roasting pan and scrape up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. (If the bits are stuck, put the pan over a low burner to loosen them.) Add the bits and liquid to the degreasing cup.
- Let the fat rise to the top of the degreasing cup, then spoon off 1/2 cup fat and transfer to a large saucepan over medium heat. Make a roux: Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the flour browns slightly, about 4 minutes.
- Gradually add the hot broth to the roux, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Pour the dark roasting juices from the degreasing cup into the gravy, discarding any remaining fat. If desired, chop the giblets and shred the neck meat; add to the gravy. Simmer, whisking occasionally, until the gravy thickens, about 10 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper.
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