Classic roast turkey, perfect centerpiece for Thanksgiving, or any meal

What goes better for Thanksgiving dinner than a perfectly roasted turkey? Every year in my house we make our turkey the same way, using my grandmother’s recipe found in her Betty Crocker cookbook and handed down to me over the years. So this year when my family made it known they would like to try something different, I did what any good wife and mother would do. I took to the internet and found these gems, testing each in my own kitchen.

I followed each recipe carefully, and the end result was delectable deliciousness that my family all said they can’t wait to try again on Thanksgiving Day. Complete with perfectly mashed potatoes and gravy, these recipes are sure to leave guests full and happy.

 

Classic Roast Turkey

This mouthwatering recipe from the Food Network kitchens is designed to be the centerpiece of a holiday dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 12- to 14-pound turkey, thawed if previously frozen
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, cut into chunks
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into chunks
  • 3 sprigs sage, plus 1 tablespoon chopped leaves
  • 3 sprigs thyme, plus 1 tablespoon chopped leaves
  • 1 1/2 sticks or 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Classic Gravy, recipe included below

Directions:

  1. Let the turkey sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Position an oven rack in the lowest position and remove the other racks; preheat to 350 degrees F.
  2. Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey and set them aside for the gravy. Pat the turkey very dry with paper towels and rub it inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the onion, carrot, celery and sage and thyme sprigs. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Put the turkey on a rack set in a large roasting pan and tuck the wings under the body.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat; whisk in the paprika and chopped sage and thyme. Let the paprika butter cool slightly, before brushing it all over the turkey. Transfer to the oven and roast 1 hour. Meanwhile, make Classic Gravy.
  4. After the turkey has roasted 1 hour, baste with the drippings. Continue roasting and basting every 30 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165 degrees F, about 2 more hours.
  5. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let it rest 30 minutes before carving; reserve the drippings for the gravy.

Classic Gravy

Using the drippings from the turkey along with the giblets gives this recipe from Food Network a palate-pleasing taste that is sure to wow Thanksgiving guests.

Ingredients:

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more as needed
  • Turkey neck and giblets, discard liver
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth, plus more as needed
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Turkey pan drippings
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare the stock, by melting 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the turkey neck and giblets; cook, turning until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme and bay leaves; stir to coat. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broth, reduce the heat to low and simmer about 1 hour. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup; reserve the saucepan. There should be 7 cups stock left. If it’s short, add more broth.
  2. Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons butter in the reserved saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the 7 cups stock; bring to a simmer and cook, whisking occasionally until thickened, about 10 minutes. Set aside until the turkey is done.
  3. Pour the turkey pan drippings into a fat separator and let stand until the fat rises to the top. Discard the fat – or drizzle on top of stuffing. Whisk the defatted drippings into the gravy; season with salt and pepper. Reheat before serving.

 

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Removing the excess water from boiled potatoes is essential for the perfect mashed potato. Try this recipe courtesy of Pillsbury to round out the Thanksgiving meal.

Ingredients:

  • 8 to 10 medium russet potatoes or about 3 pounds, peeled, cut into quarters
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Dash pepper
  • 1/4 cup hot milk

Directions:

  1. Place potatoes in large saucepan; add enough water to cover. Add 3/4 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover loosely and boil gently for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes break apart easily when pierced with fork. Drain well.
  2. Return potatoes to saucepan; shake saucepan gently over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes to evaporate any excess moisture.
  3. Mash potatoes with potato masher until no lumps remain. Add margarine, pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; continue mashing, gradually adding enough milk to make potatoes smooth and creamy.

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