Don't be alarmed by the long prep time on this recipe for succulent Thanksgiving turkey with rich gravy. Most of the prep time is hands-off brining time for the turkey, an easy step that makes for a super juicy bird.
- 5 quarts cold water
- 1 cup Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon allspice berries
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 ounce fresh sage, stems and leaves separated (about 1/3 cup leaves; stems reserved)
- 1 14- to 16-pound whole turkey
- 2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
To brine turkey:
In large pot, bring 1 quart water to a boil over high heat. Add salt, sugar, and spices and stir until sugar has dissolved. Add sage stems and remove from heat.
Pour hot brine into container large enough to hold turkey and add remaining 4 quarts cold water to cool brine. Place turkey into brine, making sure it is entirely submerged. Cover container tightly with lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 12 hours or overnight.
To roast turkey:
Preheat oven to 425˚F.
Thoroughly pat turkey dry. Season inside of turkey with salt and pepper. Stuff main turkey cavity with half of the chopped onions, carrots, and celery and tie turkey legs together with butcher's twine. Place remaining onions, carrots, and celery in a large roasting pan with a V-rack. Place turkey on rack.
In a small saucepan, melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter with sage stems and Worcestershire sauce. Remove pan from heat. Brush some melted butter mixture all over turkey and sprinkle turkey all over with salt and pepper.
Place pan in oven and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F and roast, basting turkey every 30 minutes with melted butter mixture until a meat thermometer reads 165°F when inserted into part of thigh nearest to thigh-hip joint, 1 3/4 to 2 hours (if skin starts to get dark in spots, cover with foil).
Transfer turkey to a carving board (do not clean out roasting pan), and rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before carving.
Meanwhile, to make gravy:
Carefully pour pan drippings from roasting pan into small measuring cup and set aside for about 5 minutes to allow oil to rise above juices; spoon off oil and reserve pan juices. Set roasting pan on stove over medium-high heat. Add pan juices and broth and bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape up brown bits. Strain pan juices and discard solids.
In a medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, add remaining 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter and swirl to melt. After butter has melted, continue to swirl in pan for about 2 minutes, or until butter has stopped foaming and is light brown. Stir in reserved sage leaves and cook for about 1 minute, or until sage leaves are crisp. Remove pan from heat and, using a slotted spoon, remove sage leaves from brown butter. Sprinkle sage leaves with salt and reserve.
Return pan to medium heat, stir in flour, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in pan juices and bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer for about 3 minutes, or until gravy thickens slightly. Season gravy with salt and pepper.
Carve turkey and serve with gravy and crispy sage leaves.