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Roasted Turkey with Herbs and Port Gravy

Preparing gravy while you are juggling the rest of the Thanksgiving feast can be a tricky task, even for the most seasoned home cooks. This recipe gives you a head start by using a gravy base. Pan drippings and giblets are added to impart depth of flavor to the finished gravy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh turkey, about 16 lb.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tbs. turkey herbs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 Tbs. (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter, at room
      temperature
  • 2 cups water
  • 1⁄4 cup port
  • 1 jar (17 oz.) turkey gravy base

Directions:

Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 425ºF.

Remove the giblets and neck and reserve for making stock (discard the liver). Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off and discard excess fat. Season the turkey inside and out with salt and pepper. Place 2 Tbs. of the herbs and the bay leaf in the body cavity. If desired, truss the turkey with kitchen twine. Spread 2 Tbs. of the butter over the turkey breast, and evenly coat the outside of the turkey with the remaining 2 Tbs. herbs. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the giblets, neck, water and port. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the giblets from the pan; mince and reserve for the gravy. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. butter to the stock and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

Reduce the heat to 325°F and roast the turkey for about 1 1/2 hours more, then begin basting every 15 minutes with the stock and the pan drippings. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast, away from the bone, registers 165°F, and inserted into the thigh registers 175°F. Total roasting time should be 3 to 3 1/2 hours. If the breast begins to cook too quickly, tent it loosely with aluminum foil.

Transfer the turkey to a warmed platter, cover loosely with foil and let rest for about 20 minutes before carving.

Skim the fat from the pan drippings. Set the pan over medium heat, add any remaining stock and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the pan bottom, until reduced by half, 7 to 10 minutes. Prepare the gravy base according to the package instructions. Add the pan drippings and the giblets to the gravy and transfer to a warmed sauceboat. Carve the turkey and pass the gravy alongside.
Serves 12.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.