November 22, 2010

Sage-Butter Roasted Turkey with Cider Gravy

It simply does not get any better than this moist and succulent roast turkey. Brining is the key to a wonderfully juicy bird, but the cider gravy is an amazing accompaniment to this perfectly cooked main.

Brining and Prep Method: Place the thawed turkey in a large bucket (that can fit in the fridge). Add 1/2 cup of salt to each gallon of water, and add enough of this mixture to cover the turkey completely. Usually 2 gallons is enough. Allow the bird to sit in the brine for 12-14 hours. Remove the bird from the brine, discard, and pat down completely, then follow the method below (which involves allowing the bird to sit uncovered overnight in the fridge for an extra crispy skin). 

Sage-Butter Roasted Turkey: adapted from Epicurious
3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
1 tablespoon dried rubbed sage
1 16-to 18-pound turkey, rinsed, patted dry; neck, heart, and gizzard reserved for turkey stock
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 T. dried rubbed sage
3/4 cup fresh refrigerated apple cider or apple juice

2 cups (or more) turkey stock or low-salt chicken broth
3/4 cup fresh refrigerated apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 t. dried sage

Turkey: The night before the turkey will be cooked, rub salt and dried sage together in small bowl. Place turkey in roasting pan; sprinkle all over with sage salt. Chill turkey overnight, uncovered. Remove turkey from refrigerator. Set the oven rack at the lowest position and preheat to 375°F. Pat turkey dry. Tuck wing tips under; tie legs together loosely. Melt the butter in the microwave, then stir together with the sage. Brush all over the turkey, taking care to get into all the crevices, then sprinkle with pepper.
Roast turkey 1 hour; baste with any pan juices. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Roast turkey 45 minutes. Pour 3/4 cup apple cider over the bird and turn the pan around. Continue to roast the turkey until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F or the breast reads 180°F basting and turning pan occasionally for even cooking, about 11/4 hours longer. Transfer turkey to platter; tent with foil and let rest 30 to 45 minutes (internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees). Slice the turkey, baste with hot chicken broth to re-warm and moisten, and serve with gravy, below.

When the turkey comes out of the oven, pour the pan juices through a strainer into a bowl. Spoon off fat that rises to surface. Transfer 2 tablespoons fat to heavy large saucepan and discard remaining fat. Place turkey roasting pan over 2 burners. Add 2 cups stock or broth and 3/4 cup cider. Bring to boil over high heat, scraping up browned bits. Boil liquid until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 6 minutes. Add mixture from roasting pan to degreased pan juices. If necessary, add enough stock to measure 3 1/2 cups stock mixture.
Place saucepan with turkey fat over medium-high heat. Add flour; whisk 2 minutes. Whisk in stock mixture. Boil until gravy thickens enough to coat spoon thinly, about 6 minutes. Whisk the sage. Season with salt and pepper. Serve turkey with gravy.

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