Chef John's Roast Turkey and Gravy

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 (12 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets reserved
  • 2onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • 2carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • ½ bunch fresh sage
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1bay leaf
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons turkey fat
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups turkey pan drippings
  • ¼ teaspoon balsamic vinegar(Optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

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  • Step 2

    Mix 2 tablespoons salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper, and poultry seasoning in a small bowl. Tuck turkey wings under the bird, and season cavity with about 1 tablespoon of the poultry seasoning mixture. Reserve remaining poultry seasoning mix.

  • Step 3

    Toss the onion, celery, and carrots together in a bowl. Stuff about 1/2 cup of the vegetable mixture, rosemary sprigs, and 1/2 bunch sage into the cavity of the turkey. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Loosen the skin on top of the turkey breast using fingers or a small spatula. Place about 2 tablespoons butter under the skin and spread evenly. Spread the remaining butter (about 2 tablespoons) all over the outside of the skin. Sprinkle the outside of the turkey with the remaining poultry seasoning mix.

  • Step 4

    Spread the remaining onion, celery, and carrots into a large roasting pan. Place the turkey on top of the vegetables. Fill thepan with about 1/2 inch of water. Arrange a sheet of aluminum foil over the breast of the turkey.

  • Step 5

    Roast the turkey in the preheated oven until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 3 1/2 hours. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 165 degrees F (75 degrees C). Remove the foil during the last hour of cooking. Baste the turkey with the pan juices.

  • Step 6

    While the turkey is roasting, make stock: place neck, heart, and gizzards in a saucepan with thebay leaf and water. Simmer over medium heat for 2 hours. Strain the turkey giblets from the stock, and discard giblets. There should be at least 4 cups of stock.

  • Step 7

    Remove the turkey from the oven, cover with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil, and allow to rest in a warm area for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Pour the pan juices, about 3 cups, into a saucepan and set aside. Skim off the turkey fat from the pan juices, reserving about 2 tablespoons.

  • Step 8

    Heat 2 tablespoons of the turkey fat and 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Transfer the onion from the roasting pan into the skillet. Cook and stir until the onion is browned, about 5 minutes, then stir in the flour. Continue to cook and stir for about 5 minutes more; whisk in 4 cups of the skimmed turkey stock and the reserved pan juices until smooth; skim off any foam. Stir in the balsamic vinegar. Simmer until the gravy is thickened, whisking constantly, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of chopped sage, and season to taste with salt and black pepper.

  • Cook's Note

    For thicker gravy, double the amounts of turkey fat, butter, and flour in the gravy part of the recipe.

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