For most of us, cooking a turkey is a once a year event and can be a bit intimidating. But let’s face it; it’s just a big chicken. So let’s make it easy, get it in the oven fast and have some fun with the gravy!
Yield: Serves 10 or more
One 10 to 25 pound turkey
Lots of ground thyme or sage for rubbing, a couple of tablespoons or so
3 large carrots, peeled
3 large onions, halved
1/2 cup flour
2 cups your favorite wine
2 cups water
A sprinkle or two of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
Rinse your turkey with plenty of cold water and pat dry with paper towels or a clean towel. Make a roasting bed in the bottom of your roaster pan with the whole carrots and onion halves. Place the turkey on top.
Rub the turkey all over with thyme. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place in the oven.
Don’t open the oven. Roast for one hour, without opening the oven. Turn your oven temperature to 300°F (150°C) and continue roasting 2 hours. The bird is done when the breast and thigh meat have both reached at least 165°F (74°C) A larger turkey may need as much as another hour of slow roasting at this point. Rest the turkey on a serving tray and cover with foil while its juices settle down.
Scoop and discard the vegetables, retaining all the juices. Pop the roaster over medium-high heat and scrape the pan to get all those flavors stirred up. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk to blend it with the fat and ensure there are no lumps. Add the wine and water and continue cooking until the sauce reduces to the consistency you enjoy, a few minutes longer. Season well with salt and pepper. Now you’re ready to carve your turkey, drizzle with the gravy and share!
Chef Michael’s Kitchen
© Chef Michael Smith
Freestyle Twist: That roaster of pan drippings is a palette just waiting for your flavor twist. Any liquid will work: white wine, grape juice, apple juice, orange juice or chicken stock, they’re all fair game! Try stirring in cranberry jelly, mustard, salsa, horseradish and any herb.
What’s the secret for your best-tasting, juiciest holiday turkey ever? Brining—a centuries-old trick that the pros use. Soaking the turkey in salt water is simple and it really works. Brining encourages the tightly wound proteins in the meat to uncoil, bump into each other and form a web of sorts that sets in the heat of the oven, trapping flavourful moisture. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to be a scientist to appreciate how tasty this turkey will be.