The Lechasseurs' Recipes

Only the "keepers"

Perfect Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy

Ingredients: 

1 brined turkey (about 14 lbs)
7 cups stuffing
2 tbsp butter
Freshly ground pepper

Pan Gravy:

3 tbsp all-purpose flour
4 cups turkey stock
1/4 cup port
1 tbsp red currant jelly
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method: 

Drain fat and pan drippings in to a measuring cup. Return 3 tbsp fat tot roasting pan. Skim fat from remaining drippings.

Sprinkle flour over fat in roasting pan and cook on stovetop, over medium heat, stirring , for about 2 minutes, or until flour is browned.

Add stock, pan drippings, and port to roasting pan a little at at time, stirring constantly. Bring gravy to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until gravy coats the back of a spoon.

Stir in red currant jelly and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Season wit salt and pepper.

Brining the turkey:

Brining is an ideal way to prepare a turkey, especially if it is not free range or air-chilled. Kosher turkeys are prebrined, by Jewish laws, to remove all the blook. If you do not want to brine a turkey yourself, a kosher turkey is an excellent substitute.

Brined turkeys are soaked in a salt water solution for up to 24 hours before cooking. Brining loosens the muscle fibres, creating a more tender, juicy and flavourful bird.
I like to use dosher salt for brinin gna dcooking although any coarse salt will do. Use 1 cup salt for every 4 quarts cold water. Some cooks like to flavour the brine with herbs and chilies, but I have never found that the taste is transferred to the turkey.

You will need a container that will allow the turkey to be completely immersed in the brine. You could use a very large pot or plastic container to put the turkey in. Measure the volume of the pot and make that amount of brine.

Place the turkey in the pot neck side down. Add enough brine to cover the turkey. Tie a lid on the container or pot in case the turkey floats up. Place the container in a cool place for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Remove the bird from the brine, rinse it, pat it dry and set it on a baking sheet in the refrigerator for another night to crisp the skin. The bird will look as though it has come straight from the spa – gleaming and shiny – and the skin will be plumped up. Because the bird absorbs about a tablespoon of the salt mixture during the process, do not salt before roasting.

When cooked, the turkey will be juicy and flavourful, and it will carve easily.

Roasting the Turkey:

Roast the turkey at 400°F for 15 minutes per pound for the first 10 pounds and then 7 minutes per pound for each additional pounds. Reduce the heat to 375°F after one hour. A 14 pound turkey will cook for 150 minutes for the first 10 pounds(10×15 minutes) and 28 minutes for the last 4 pounds (7×4), giving the total cooking time of about 3 hours. If the bird is stuffed, add an extra 15 minutes.

This method works perfectly because the turkey starts to cook from both the outside and the inside, cutting down on the roasting time. If your bird is larger than 16 pounds, reduce the temperature to 350°F after the first hour.

Roast the bird on a rack so the air circulates, cooking the underside as well as the breast. If the skin becomes too brown, brush butter or turkey drippings on cheesecloth or parchment paper and lay it over the skin for the last hour. Never cover with foil, or you will get a steamed bird.

Take the turkey out of the oven once the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced. The turkey will continue to cook after it comes out of the oven.

Source: 
A Matter of Taste, Lucy Waverman, p232