It’s finally time for Turkey Talk!!
Like November is here! I have only been waiting for this day since like, the beginning of August! I am such a freak, I mean who starts thinking about the holidays in the heat of the summer? Basically what I’m trying to say is that this post has been a long time coming.
While everybody was enjoying all the things that go along with October, I was roasting turkeys, mashing potatoes and eating Thanksgiving dinner. Or well, at least towards the end of October I was. I try to be on top of things, but then somehow I always fail.
But hey! I got the turkey made and um, I am pretty dang happy with it. I mean, come on. Doesn’t it look perfect?!?!
Ok, so here’s the deal. When it comes to the holidays, I am all about traditional. I love traditions and to be honest, I don’t like breaking them. That said, I do love to switch little things up just a little with things like side dishes and desserts. But the turkey?
The turkey has to be classic. Herbs and butter. Nothing fancy, nothing overdone. Just classic, simple and delicious flavors.
For as long as I can remember, my mom has always cooked the Thanksgiving bird. Even last year, she cooked the turkey. She is a good turkey roaster and we had a good thing going. I’d do the sides + desserts + apps and she handled the turkey…although last year, I do recall that she and my dad were out hiking for most the time the turkey was cooking leaving me to tend to it.
Actually, as I recall, she and dad were still hiking when people began arriving for dinner. Typical.
Anyway, I love my mom’s classic turkey, so I took inspiration from her, read a whole bunch online and then made some turkeys (yup plural, and I still have three more to make between now and Christmas). And you guys, I swear by this turkey you see here today.
It’s perfection and I could not be more excited about it.
As you can read from the title, Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey with White Wine Pan Gravy, my turkey is simple and traditional. Pretty sure it doesn’t get much more classic than this.
Just the way I like it.
The secret to my turkey is a butter soaked cheesecloth. I read about this method of cooking the bird in this month’s Food and Wine. The second I read about it, I knew I had to try it. It’s flipping genius!
You soak a layer of cheesecloth in melted butter (mine is full of fresh thyme, sage, parsley and lemon zest!) and then drape the butter soaked cheesecloth over the bird. Then you roast the turkey with the cheesecloth ON the bird. The cloth protects the skin from burning all while basting the turkey with butter the entire time it roasts.
Genius I tell you, and the skin comes out perfect, the meat is incredibly moist and the flavor is spot on! You do not even need to tent the bird with foil, the butter soaked cheesecloth works magic guys and it could not be easier.
Soo the gravy though?!? My mom has alway has always had trouble with gravy. Like it was either clumpy, too thin or flavorless. I get it, gravy can be hard, but this pan gravy will make your life simple. Nothing too tricky and it gets made in the very same pan you roast the turkey in. Hello less dishes – YES!
Plus, the flavor is out of this world. It’s all about those pan drippings. 🙂
So are you excited yet?? Are you going to start planning Thanksgiving? It’s T-minus twenty days away and I have then next couple weeks packed with my personal Thanksgiving menu. Think sweet taters, pies, cookies, mashers, casseroles, salad, bread and the works. I may even throw a few drinks your way this holiday season too.
Wait, question: are we into drinks? Like cocktails? With booze? Let me know.
It’s gonna be a really good November. But since Turkey is the star of the show, I figured I would start there.
Next up are the apps, sides, desserts and a couple easy dinners too (you know cause we all gotta eat between now and the big day – duh!).
YUM. Did you break out the stretchy pants yet, cause I think it may be time. I am full-force (like intensely so) in all holiday GO mode, so excited!
SIDE NOTE: My dad asked, since we had turkey in October, if that meant we could skip it at Thanksgiving. I practically looked at him like he was insane. I mean, what??!? Who skips the turkey on Thanksgiving? Guys, he is out of his mind I tell ya. Like losing it BIG TIME.
Or he’s just a giant Scrooge, thinking a combo of both actually.
Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey with White Wine Pan Gravy.
- 1 pound turkey giblets + neck removed, rinsed + patted dry, 14-16
- 2 cup sticks unsalted butter softened, 1 or 16 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage plus more for stuffing the bird
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme plus more for stuffing the bird
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
- zest of 1 lemon
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
- 1 piece large of double lined cheesecloth
- 2 lemons halved
- 1 garlic head tips sliced off
- 1 onion halved
- 7-8 cups low sodium chicken or turkey broth
White Wine Pan Gravy
- 1 cup white wine divided
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 6 tablespoons flour
- drippings from the turkey
- 2-3 cups chicken or turkey broth as needed
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage
- salt + pepper to taste
Remove the turkey from the fridge one hour before roasting. Remove the giblets + neck and rinse the bird off, pat dry and allow to come to room temperature.
To make the compound butter, finely chop the sage, thyme + parsley and add to a bowl with the butter. Add the lemon zest, salt and pepper, mix well to combine, making sure the butter is smooth and the herbs evenly mixed throughout (you can also add everything to a food processor and mix it that way).
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
Place the turkey in a large roasting pan.
Season the cavity of the turkey with salt and pepper and fill the cavity with the, lemons, garlic and onion. Gently lift the skin of the turkey by using your fingers and going in between the skin and body of the bird. Rub half of the compound butter under the skin of the bird, spreading some of the butter on top of the skin as well. Take the remaining butter and melt it over the low heat on the stove or in the microwave. Dampen your cheesecloth with warm water and squeeze dry. Submerge the cheesecloth in the melted butter, making sure all the cheese cloth has soaked up the butter. Lay the cheesecloth over the bird, covering most of the bird. Drizzle any remaining butter over the turkey.
Pour about 4 cups of chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting plan. Place the roasting pan in the oven and roast for 45 minutes at 450 degrees F. After 45 minutes reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. and continue cooking for another 2 hours (until the turkey registers 160 F. on a meat thermometer), adding 1-2 cup of broth half way through roasting. I like to baste the turkey with the drippings 2-3 times throughout cooking and when doing so rotate the roasting pan.
Remove the turkey from the oven and remove the cheesecloth, transfer the turkey to a baking sheet, tent loosely with foil and let rest 20-30 minutes before slicing.
To make the gravy, strain the liquid from the roasting pan, skimming off most of the fat. I like to pour the broth into a 4 cup measuring cup and then place in the freezer for 10 minutes. This helps the fat rise to the top of the surface. Once you have skimmed the fat, add enough broth to equal about 4-5 cups total of drippings/broth.
Place the roasting pan over two burners and add a slash of wine (about 1/2 cup) to deglaze the pan. You want to scrape up all those brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Once the pan is throughly deglazed, add the butter and once melted, add the flour whisking to combine. Cook stirring constantly, until the mixture is golden, around 5 minutes.
Increase heat to medium high and add the remaining 1/2 cup of white wine, whisking as you go to let the wine reduce down. Slowly add reserved broth, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the sage and cook, continuing to stir, until the gravy has thickened to your desired thickness, around 8 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm with the turkey.
That picture? It makes you happy and excited, right?? I know, me too!!