How to Make A Perfect Roast Turkey

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Roasting a turkey is not difficult nor time-consuming and does not have to result in a dry, overcooked, inedible hunk of bird.

Ingredients

  • 1 18-lb turkey left at room temperature 1 hour, any feathers and quills removed;  neck and giblets removed and reserved for gravy
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 onion, quarted
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 7 to 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock, heated
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cold
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

To Roast

Preheat oven to 450°F and set rack to lowest position. Rinse turkey and pat dry. Spread softened butter over skin and sprinkle with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stuff with onion, carrot and lemon. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen string and tuck wings under body.

Put turkey on rack in roasting pan. Add 1 cup water to pan and roast without basting, rotating pan halfway through roasting, until thermometer inserted into fleshy part of thighs [do not touch bones] registers 170°F,  approximately 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 hours. Resist the urge to cover with foil as this will stop the skin from crisping. If the turkey is browning too much, reduce the oven temperature slightly and increase the cooking time by 15 minutes or until thermometer registers a cooked temperature.

Carefully tilt turkey so any juices from inside large cavity run into roasting pan and transfer turkey to a platter. Reserve cooking juices in the roasting pan. Remove and discard vegetables from turkey and let stand, uncovered, 30 minutes. Turkey will finish cooking as it stands.

For the Gravy

Pour pan juices through a chinois [a fine-mesh conical sieve] or a sieve lined with cheesecloth, into measuring cup. Skim off and discard fat.

Deglaze the roasting pan over medium-high heat with white wine. Bring to a boil, scraping up the fond [the browned bits on the bottom of the pan]. Add neck, giblets and reserved cooking juices and boil for approximately 3-4 minutes. Pour through chinois into a measuring cup containing pan juices. Add stock to pan juices to bring total to about 8 cups.

Melt butter over medium heat in a large pot and stir in flour to create a roux. Whisk constantly until slightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Slowly add stock in a stream, whisking constantly, add thyme. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes more.

Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

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