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Roast Turkey with Turkey Onion & Sage Gravy


From the Food Network Magazine article; Ina Garten Make ahead recipe

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  • For the turkey:
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 12 -to-14-pound fresh turkey
  • 1 large yellow onion, unpeeled and cut in eighths
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • Turkey Gravy (see below)
  • For the turkey gravy:
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 large red onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
  • 10 large fresh sage leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Adapted from


Step 1

Directions note: start the dressing while turkey is roasting and finish between turkey roasting steps 7 & 8. See note at the end of the turkey instructions for 'make ahead steps'.

For the Turkey:
1. 2-3 days before, combine 3 Tablespoons SALT with minced thyme and lemon zest.
2. Wash turkey inside and out, drain it well and pat with paper towels.
3. sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt mixture in the cavity of the turkey and rub the rest on the skin and under wings.
4. Place the turkey in a shallow dish just large enough to hold it and wrap the whole dish plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1-2 days. The day before you plan to roast, remove the plastic wrap, the skin will dry out and turn a little translucent.
5. Preheat the oven, 325 degrees. Put the turkey in a large roasting pan, discarding any juices in the dish. Place the onion, lemon, and thyme springs in the cavity. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and the wings close to the body. Brush the turkey with the butter and sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper.
6. Roast the turkey for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the breast meat registers 165 degrees, on an instant read thermometer (put the thermometer in sideways).
7. Remove the turkey from the oven on a carving board. Cut off the legs and thighs and put them back in the roasting pan, covering the breast and carcass tightly with aluminum foil to rest on the carving board. Place the roasting pan back in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes -or- until the dark meat registers 180 degrees.

8. Remove the dark meat to the carving board with the turkey and cover it tightly let it rest with the breast meat for 15 minutes at room temperature.

9. Pour 1/4 inch layer of gravy into an oven proof dish (12 X 16) serving platter. Carve the turkey and arrange it artfully on top of the gravy. place the uncovered platter into the oven for 15- 20 minutes to reheat. Serve hot with extra gravy.

- for make ahead-
1. Cover the sliced turkey platter and place into refrigerator 1-2 days prior to eating. Remove from refrigerator and let set out for 1 hour at room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and place in oven to reheat only.

For the gravy:

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring often, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the onion becomes browned and starts to caramelize. Sprinkle on the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock, cognac, sage leaves, bay leaves, 2 teaspoons salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock) and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour and strain, pressing the solids lightly and then discarding them. Refrigerate until ready to use.

After the turkey is cooked, remove it to a carving board to rest while you finish the gravy. Place the roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat and add the wine. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring and scraping up all the bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. Slowly whisk the gravy base into the pan. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until the gravy is smooth and slightly thickened. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.

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