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A uniquely American holiday, Thanksgiving is all about one thing — food. No matter whether you’re an avowed carnivore or a devout vegan, in late November we all give thanks for our blessings by gathering family and friends together and sharing a meal. In that spirit, here are a few practical serving tips, easy-to-follow recipes, some wild turkey trivia — as well as dining alternatives for the kitchen-shy. Happy Turkey Day!
The following recipe is taken from Cooking At Home with the Culinary Institute of America (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., $40). This and the two books mentioned on page 68 are available for purchase at bookstores nationwide or at www.ciachef.edu/enthusiasts/cookbooks_dvds/.
Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy
Makes 10 servings
• 1 turkey (about 15 lbs) • 1 apple, quartered • 1 bay leaf • 1 large sprig fresh thyme
• ½ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley • 1-2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice • Salt and freshly ground pepper
• ¾ cup diced yellow onion • ½ cup diced carrot • ½ cup diced celery
• 5 cups chicken broth (divided)
• 1/3 cup cornstarch blended with 1/3 cup cold water or chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Set roasting rack in large flameproof roasting pan
- Stuff turkey with apple, bay leaf, thyme, and parsley. Rub lemon juice over entire bird; season with salt and pepper
- Place turkey, breast side up, on rack in roasting pan and transfer to oven; immediately reduce temperature to 350°F. Roast for three hours, basting occasionally with accumulated pan drippings
- Remove from oven. Transfer turkey, on rack, to baking sheet. Degrease pan drippings by skimming away any excess fat from surface
- Return turkey (and any juices that have accumulated on the sheet to roasting pan) to oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of turkey’s thigh registers 180°F. Bake 30-60 min. more. Remove turkey and rack from roasting pan; cover bird, and let rest
- While turkey is resting, combine pan drippings, onion, carrot, and celery in saucepan. Add ½ cup of broth to roasting pan; stir to deglaze pan, scraping up any browned bits from bottom. Add to saucepan along with remaining broth. Simmer over medium heat until slightly reduced and flavorful, skimming away any fat that rises to the surface; cook for 20-25 min.
- Gradually add cornstarch slurry to simmering broth, whisking constantly, until gravy has good consistency. Simmer two min. more; strain, taste, and season with salt and pepper
- Remove and discard apple, bay leaf, thyme, and parsley. Carve turkey and serve with gravy
Chef’s note: The rule of thumb for turkey roasting is to allow about 20 minutes per pound; use this to calculate the approximate roasting time for birds larger than the one called for in this recipe.