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Recipe

Roast turkey with gravy

(Dina Rudick/Globe Staff)
By Sheryl Julian
Globe Staff / November 24, 2008
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You need a meat thermometer, cheesecloth to cover the bird, and a pan large enough to hold the bird with room around it (a rack is nice, but not necessary). See the accompanying chart for turkey roasting times. While the turkey roasts, simmer the turkey gizzard and neck in the stock for the gravy (do not use the heart or liver for this).

TURKEY

1whole turkey (10 to 25 pounds), giblets removed from vent and neck end
Salt and pepper, to taste
2carrots, each cut into 4 pieces
2stalks celery, each cut into 4 pieces
2onions, quartered
2tablespoons vegetable oil, or more if necessary
2cups water
1. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Wipe the bird inside and out with a damp cloth. Sprinkle the inside with salt and pepper. If stuffing the bird, do it now, packing the stuffing in loosely. If not stuffing the bird, tuck 4 pieces of carrot, 4 pieces of celery, and 4 onion quarters inside the bird. Use kitchen twine to tie the legs together. Rub the bird all over with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set the bird in the roasting pan.

2. Cut several layers of cheesecloth about the size of the turkey. Pour the oil into a bowl, dip in the cheesecloth, and drape it over the bird like a blanket. Scatter the remaining carrots, celery, and onions around the bird. Pour the water into the pan at the side.

3. Roast the turkey for 30 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 325 degrees and continue roasting the bird until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 170 degrees (the breast should be 165 degrees). Allow 10 minutes per pound for an unstuffed bird; 12 minutes per pound for a stuffed bird. During roasting, if the bird seems too brown, cover the breast loosely with foil. Baste the bird during the first 2 hours with the juices in the pan. If the meat reaches the right temperature sooner than you're expecting, remove the turkey from the oven and set it in a warm place.

4. Lift the bird from the pan and transfer it to a cutting board. Let it rest for 20 to 40 minutes.

GRAVY

1cup boiling water
1/2cup red or white wine, sherry, or port
3cups turkey or chicken stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
2tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water
1. Set a large strainer over a saucepan. Pour the water into the drippings in the roasting pan. Scrape the bottom to remove any sediment. Carefully tip the contents into the strainer, pressing the vegetables with the back of a large metal spoon. Use the spoon to skim the fat off the surface of the liquid.

2. Turn the heat to high. Add the red or white wine, sherry, or port to the drippings. Bring to a boil. Skim the surface again to remove excess fat. Add the turkey or chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Return to a boil. Let the sauce simmer, skimming often, for 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

3. Stir the cornstarch and water until they are smooth. Stir them into the boiling liquid until the mixture thickens. The sauce should coat a spoon. If it seems too thin, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and thicken the mixture again. Carve the turkey and serve with gravy.

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