Perfect Roast Turkey With Old-Fashioned Gravy
One (18-pound) fresh turkey
About 12 cups of your favorite stuffing (or 1 each chopped onion, carrot, and celery, mixed with 1/4 cup chopped parsley and Homemade Poultry Seasoning, recipe follows)
2 1/2 quarts Homemade Turkey Broth (see recipe), as needed
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more if needed
Freshly milled black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1. Position a rack in the lowest position of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Reserve the turkey neck and giblets to use in gravy or stock. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water. Pat the turkey skin dry. Turn the turkey on its breast. Loosely fill the neck cavity with stuffing. Using a thin wooden or metal skewer, pin the turkey's neck skin to the back. Fold the turkey's wings akimbo behind the back or tie to the body with kitchen string. Loosely fill the large body cavity with stuffing. Place any remaining stuffing in a lightly buttered casserole, cover and refrigerate to bake as a side dish. Place the drumsticks in the hock lock or tie together with kitchen string.
2. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in the roasting pan. Rub all over with the softened butter. Season with the salt and pepper. Tightly cover the breast area with aluminum foil. Pour 2 cups of turkey stock into the bottom of the pan.
3. Roast the turkey until a meat thermometer inserted in the meaty part of the thigh (but not touching a bone) reads 180 degrees F degrees and the stuffing is at least 160 degrees F, about 4 1/4 hours. (See Estimated Roasting Times, below.) Don't baste too often -- every 45 minutes is enough, and if you forget, that's fine too, as basting only glazes the skin and doesn't affect moisture. If you baste, lift up the foil and replace it to baste the breast area. Whenever the drippings evaporate, add broth to moisten them (about 1 1/2 cups at a time). Remove the foil during the last hour to allow the skin to brown.
4. Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter and let it stand for at least 20 minutes before carving. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Drizzle 1/2 cup of turkey broth over the stuffing in the casserole, cover, and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a heatproof glass bowl or measuring cup. Let stand 5 minutes; then skim off and reserve the clear yellow fat that rises to the top. Measure 3/4 cup fat, adding melted butter, if needed. Add enough turkey broth to the skimmed drippings to make 8 cups total.
6. Place the roasting pan over two stove burners on low heat and add the turkey fat. Sprinkle with the flour and whisk, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, and cook until the flour is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the turkey broth,. Cook, whisking often, until the gravy thickens and no trace of raw flour flavor remains, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Strain, if desired. Transfer the gravy to a warmed gravy boat. Carve the turkey and serve the gravy alongside.
Homemade Poultry Seasoning: Mix 1 teaspoon each dried rosemary, dried crumbled sage, dried marjoram, dried thyme, and celery salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1 well-crumbled bay leaf. Crush together in a mortar and pestle or in a mini-food processor.
Estimated Roasting Times
(Oven Temperature 325 degrees F)
Add an extra 30 minutes to the roasting time to allow for variations in roasting conditions. It's better to have a bird done ahead of time than to keep everyone waiting and hungry for the bird to finish roasting.
8 to 12 pounds 2 3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3 3/4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds 4 1/4 to 4/12 hours
20 to 24 pounds 4 1/2 to 5 hours
8 to 12 pounds 3 to 3 1/2 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 1/2 to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds 4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 hours
20 to 24 pounds 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 hours
Recipe From CBS Early Show