Last Thanksgiving, my sister wanted to roast a turkey, something neither of us had done, ever. We took the plunge and it turned out to be so much fun! We followed Ina Garten’s recipe that you can find here and made a few changes as well. My sister did most of the dirty work, and I was more than happy to assist. While the turkey was the star of the show, everyone was apprehensive about the gravy and wasn’t too sure if we should make it. But I decided to go ahead and followed Ina Garten’s recipe, which you can find here. The gravy turned out to be a highlight and tasted so good with the turkey! If you have never done this before, and have always wanted to, this is your cue! It’s not that hard as long as you aren’t tackling this dish alone. So go for it and Happy Holidays!
For the Roast Turkey
Turkey – 9 pounds
Salt – 2 tsp
Ground black pepper – 1 tsp
Fresh thyme, chopped – 1 tsp
Fresh thyme – 1 bunch
Butter – 1/2 cup, softened
Spanish onion – 1, quartered
Lemon – 1, zested and juiced
Lemon – 1, halved
Garlic – 1, halved, cross-wise
For the Homemade Gravy
Unsalted butter – 8 tbsp (1 stick)
Yellow Onion – 2
All-purpose flour – 1/4 cup
Salt – 1 tsp
Freshly ground black pepper – 1/2 tsp
Turkey drippings + Chicken stock – 2 cups
- Wash the turkey under cold, running water and pat down dry
- Make a mixture of butter, lemon zest and juice and 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- Rub some of the above mixture under the skin of the turkey using your fingers and the rest all over the bird
- Sprinkle salt and pepper in the cavity of the turkey and outside as well
- Stuff the cavity with the halved lemon, garlic, onion and bunch of fresh thyme
- Tie the legs with cooking twine and tuck the wings as well
[We used a frozen turkey and took it out of the freezer two nights before Thanksgiving, and left it in the refrigerator to thaw. We did the marinade the previous night. At that time the turkey was still frozen in parts and so we let it thaw in the microwave for a few minutes. The giblets were in a separate bag and we discarded it. The neck was also separate and we let it roast in the pan for flavor and discarded it later. This entire process is a messy job, so be prepared!]
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Once ready, place the turkey and cook for about 2.5 hours (time would vary according to the size of the turkey. If needed, use a thermometer, but we didn’t. If the juices released into the baking dish are clear, it’s an indication that the bird is cooked)
- Once the turkey is roasted, remove all the juices using a baster (you can use this to make a gravy)
- Cover the turkey with foil and allow to rest for about 20 minutes before cutting
- Slice and serve with gravy!
- In a pan, heat butter till it melts and then add chopped onions
- Fry the onions on medium to low heat for about 15 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Do not rush this step
- Add the all-purpose flour and whisk well
- Add salt and pepper and cook for a couple more minutes
- Add the turkey drippings and chicken stock mixture
- Cook uncovered for about 5 minutes
- Serve with turkey!
Note: The original recipe calls for the use of white wine, cream and brandy/cognac. I didn’t use any of these ingredients and the gravy turned out delicious!
Turkey drippings are the juices left in the pan after roasting a turkey in the oven. Use a baster to remove these juices once your turkey is cooked. I got over a cup of these drippings and used chicken stock for the rest. You could even use just two cups of chicken stock instead of the drippings.