Ultimate Roast Turkey — Back by Popular Demand

Here is the roast turkey recipe that changed my life when I made it for Thanks­giv­ing. It is based on a Martha Stew­art ver­sion that I stream­lined, adapted and improved. My gravy is old-fashioned and the best.

The result: mag­a­zine cover looks and superbly moist, evenly cooked flesh.

Dear cooks, you’re welcome.

The Ulti­mate Roast Turkey

I pre­fer a fresh rather than frozen turkey, prefer­ably as nat­u­rally raised as pos­si­ble. Cheese­cloth is sold in most cook­ware stores. While turkey is roast­ing, make stock by sim­mer­ing neck and innards (except liver) along with a car­rot, a small onion and herbs of choice in water to cover for at least 2 hours. Drain; dis­card solids.

About 20-lb/9-kilo turkey

1 cup (½ lb/250 g) butter

750-mL bot­tle dry white wine

Kosher salt

Pre­heat oven to 325F.

Cut piece of cheese­cloth to form 4 lay­ers about 18 inches/46 cm square.

In saucepan, melt but­ter with wine over medium-low heat. Place cheese­cloth in saucepan; let soak.

Place turkey on wire rack in roast­ing pan. Sprin­kle with salt. Place soaked cheese­cloth on top to cover breast and legs.

Roast in oven 4 to 4½ hours, bast­ing every half-hour with butter/wine mix­ture, until juices run clear or ther­mome­ter placed in thick­est part of thigh (do not touch bone) reg­is­ters 180F (82C) for stuffed turkey, 170F (77C) for unstuffed.

Remove turkey from oven. Care­fully peel off cheese­cloth. Let stand about 15 min­utes before carving.

Makes 12 to 14 servings.

Turkey Gravy

Red cur­rant or black cur­rant jam are best but oth­ers like rasp­berry would be fine.

About 3 tbsp all-purpose flour

3 cups home-made turkey stock

1 tbsp jam or jelly

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Trans­fer cooked turkey on its wire rack to cut­ting board.

Drain and dis­card all but about 4 table­spoons of drip­pings from roast­ing pan. Place pan on stove over medium-low heat. Add flour; whisk until smooth. Add stock. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, whisk­ing and scrap­ing up all browned bits from pan until smooth and thick­ened. Add jam, salt and pep­per; stir to com­bine. Pour gravy through sieve; dis­card solids.

Makes about 3 cups.

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