Thanksgiving Turkey with Turkey Gravy
We all know that the Thanksgiving turkey is the king of the show. With this delicious bird in the middle of the table, all will go perfectly, unless of course, you have created a dry and undesirable tasting turkey. Everyone has waited all year long to get their hands on the turkey not only on Thanksgiving Day but for days to come and you must meet if not exceed their expectations.
The recipe below is a great traditional one served with turkey gravy, which is sure to make a hit on your Thanksgiving table. For the turkey, you will need:
- a thawed or fresh 15 to 20 pound turkey,
- one lemon,
- one can of chicken stock,
- one cup of melted butter or margarine,
- one teaspoon of fresh parsley,
- one teaspoon of fresh thyme,
- one teaspoon of fresh rosemary,
- salt and cracked pepper to taste, normally one teaspoon each.
For the turkey gravy, you will need the drippings from the cooked turkey, one forth cup of cornstarch, cold water, one teaspoon of fresh sage, salt and pepper to taste.
Before your getting turkey ready to place in the oven, the turkey should be completely thawed. When the turkey is thawed, turn on the oven to 425 and allow to preheat. You can line your roasting pan with aluminum foil if you desire and use cooking spray. Both of these are optional, according to the type of mess you wish to clean up after dinner.
Getting the bird ready
Remove the giblets and neck that are inside the cavity of the turkey. Sometimes they are in a paper bag but other times these items are lying in the cavity. Melt the butter in the microwave or have it sitting out so it can be ready to use when the turkey is clean. Clean the turkey inside and out with warm water. You should rub the turkey as best as you can to clean the interior and exterior, before cooking.
Once you have cleaned the turkey, you will need to dry the outside with paper towels. Do not rub with the paper towels, only pat dry. Dip a basting brush in the melted butter and rub on the turkey. I also like to rub the cavity with a bit of butter as well. Now, you can sprinkle the turkey with salt and cracked black pepper. Use a wire to hold the legs together and tuck the wings underneath the turkey.
Now, it is time to mix together the juice from the lemon, chicken stock, and other herbs in a small saucepan. Heat on high heat stirring for a few minutes after the mixture begins to boil, at least a couple. Pour the liquid slowly over the turkey and inside the cavity. Make a tent over the turkey with aluminum foil. Make sure there are no openings but that the foil is not touching the turkey.
Place the turkey in the pre-heated oven and bake for one hour. After the hour, baste the turkey and turn the temperature down to 400 degrees. A 15 to 20 pound turkey should take around 3 ½ to 4 hours to bake. The best rule of thumb is to baste every hour and check to see if the bird is done. If the meat is not pink and the juices run clear, your turkey is ready to eat.
Do not throw out the drippings, as you will use this to create a delightful turkey gravy that the entire family will love. In a bowl, combine the cornstarch, water, and sage, stir until smooth. Place the ingredients in a frying pan on medium heat along with the turkey drippings and cook while stirring preferably with a whisk until the mixture thickens. Serve along with your turkey and all other treats you have in store for your family.