This Year's Turkey

Our turkey this year was a huge 20-lb. bird that took lots of stuffing and lots of cooking and basting.  We roasted it at 350 for five hours, and 425 for another 40 minutes, basting every 30 minutes with melted butter.  The seasonings ... interior, kosher salt and freshly ground five-peppercorn (from Williams Sonoma) ... exterior, garlic, salt and pepper.  Beneath the bird ... five carrots, five stalks of celery, two onions (quartered) and occasionally, a bit of hot water during roasting to keep veggies from browning too much.  After the bird was removed from the oven, we let it rest and pushed the veggies through a sieve to extract their flavor for our gravy.

Our son hovered in our kitchen this year, learning about cooking a turkey for his own newly-established home in New York City. Teaching him to cook is a true gift for the Empty Nester Gourmet!

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving - Easy Turkey Gravy

It's almost Thanksgiving. Time to think about the turkey and the trimmings. One of the best parts of the meal is rich, creamy, roast turkey gravy ... on top of buttery mashed potatoes, savory stuffing and roast turkey.

This gravy recipe is a combination of the best Italian, French and American cooks in our family, plus my own contemporary additions.  Its complex flavor comes from deglazing the pan filled with the rich drippings of the turkey (which is stuffed with an Italian sausage stuffing ... more to come on that soon), plus a layering of seasonings and liquids (including white wine and chicken broth) ... and a hint of herbs.

Serves 8-10

Drippings from 18 lb. (more or less) turkey
2 cups chicken broth
3 tbsp. flour
1/4 c. white wine (good dry one)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tsp. Gravy Master
Hot water

Drain fat from bottom of turkey roasting pan.
• Over medium heat on range top, deglaze pan with 1/4 cup white wine and 2 cups chicken broth, making sure to scrape up brown bits.
• In small bowl, mix 3 tbsp. flour with hot water. Stir to dissolve flour. Add to pan drippings and broth.
• Let simmer 10 minutes over low heat, stirring continuously.
• Add Gravy Master. Stir in well.
• Add salt and pepper to taste, and if desired, herbs such as bay leaf, fresh sage, fresh rosemary and fresh thyme.
• Pour through sieve into a medium-sized saucepan, making sure not to leave any brown bits at bottom of roasting pan, but removing herb leaves.
• Allow to simmer over low heat for another 5-10 minutes until thick and creamy, adjusting salt and pepper seasonings as needed.  Serve hot with roast turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes.