I know I said I was going to do a whole Thanksgiving extravaganza update after Turkey Day…well, life got in the way of that.  I have pictures of dishes in progress, and lots of missing finished pictures.  We hosted Thanksgiving this year, and even though there were only 5 of us, it gets a little hectic when you’re trying to get everything done at the same time, so the camera was safely in it’s place on the shelf, not being used.

The turkey was able to be photographed, as it was “done” about 2 hours before it was supposed to.  I also need a new meat thermometer, as I think mine lied, since the bird wasn’t quite as done as it should have been.  But the breast meat was oh so good!

This year I did the same recipe as last, Giada’s turkey with citrus and herbes de provence.  It’s really good (and she does a roast chicken in a very similar fashion), and the gravy is delicious and easy as well.  I brine my turkey the night before, using a giant orange bucket from the Home Depot, filling it with just water and salt.  It seems to do the trick for me.

Turkey

1 (14 to 16 pound) turkey, neck and giblets reserved (there are 2 bags, last year I only found one, and the second was discovered when my dad was carving the turkey.  Needless to say, I didn’t make that mistake twice)
1 orange, cut into wedges
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 onion, cut into wedges
6 fresh rosemary sprigs
6 fresh sage sprigs
6 fresh oregano sprigs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth (approximate amount)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

To make the turkey: Position the rack in the lowest third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

Rinse the turkey and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the turkey on a rack set inside a large roasting pan. Place the orange and lemon wedges, onion, and 2 sprigs of each fresh herb in the main turkey cavity.   Tie the legs together to hold the shape of the turkey (I happen to use those pretty pink silicon ties).   Stir 2 tablespoons of butter, the herbes de Provence, oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of each the salt and pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat just until the butter melts. Rub the butter mixture all over the turkey and between the turkey breast meat and skin. Place the turkey neck and giblets in roasting pan. (Recipe can be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before roasting.)

Cover the turkey breast with foil. Roast for 20 minutes. Pour 3 cups of broth into the pan and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining sprigs of fresh herbs to the pan. Roast the turkey for 40 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Remove the foil from the turkey; pour 1 more cup of broth into the pan. Continue roasting the turkey until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F to 175 degrees F or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 1 hour and 30 minutes longer (you probably will need to cook it longer, I did 2 hours after turning the oven down, and it wasn’t really done enough).   Transfer the turkey to a platter and tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes while preparing the gravy.

To make the gravy: Strain the turkey pan juices from the roasting pan through a sieve and into a 4-cup glass measuring cup; discard the solids. Spoon off the fat from atop the pan juices. Add enough chicken broth, about 1 to 2 cups, to the pan juices to measure 4 cups total. Melt the remaining butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the broth. Simmer until the gravy thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the turkey with the gravy.

Make sure you keep the carcass when you’re done, as you can make the most delicious turkey stock (to be used in anything, but I love turkey rice soup).

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