Thanksgiving Feast: Roast Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy

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Photo By Joe Coca
Apple-flavored gravy gives this roast turkey recipe a rich and tangy flavor.

Roast Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy
Serves 8 to 10

Organic and heirloom birds have a more pronounced (read: less bland) “turkey” flavor. (Organic poultry is raised on certified organic feed or grass and contains no antibiotics, growth hormones or artificial flavors and colors.) Basted with a cider-Port mixture, the skin bakes up brown and slightly sweet. Apple-flavored gravy is rich and tangy. You will need to make the stuffing and glaze first.

16-pound turkey, giblets removed
1 batch Apple-Sausage Stuffing
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup apple cider (or unfiltered apple juice)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
2 cups Apple Cider Glaze (see recipe below)
4 cups turkey broth or chicken broth
1 large apple, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh sage and thyme (optional garnish)

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

2. Place turkey on a roasting rack in a flame-proof roasting pan. Spoon 5 cups of stuffing into main cavity and 1 cup of stuffing into neck cavity. Tuck wings under turkey body and tie legs together with butcher’s twine.

3. To make a side dish of stuffing, beat egg and apple cider in a bowl and add to the remaining stuffing so it stays moist while cooking. Toss to mix, then spoon into a buttered 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Dot with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.

4. Set aside 1 cup of the Apple Cider Glaze for gravy. Pour remaining 1 cup glaze over turkey.

5. Pour 1 1/2 cups of broth into roasting pan. Scatter apple and onion around turkey. Cover turkey completely with foil, place in the oven and roast for 1 hour.

6. Reduce heat to 350°F. Continue to roast the turkey, basting every 20 minutes. (Keep turkey covered with foil when not basting.) Roast for 1 1/2 hours.

7. Remove foil, baste bird, then roast uncovered until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 175°F and turkey is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

8. Transfer turkey to a carving board and cover loosely with foil until ready to carve. Strain juices from roasting pan into a grease separator. Pour degreased juices back into roasting pan. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups broth to roasting pan and boil on stovetop over medium-high heat, scraping up brown bits, for about 1 minute. Strain mixture into a saucepan. Add reserved cup of Cider Glaze and bring to a simmer.

9. Mix flour and remaining butter to a paste in a small bowl. Add paste by teaspoons into broth mixture while whisking constantly until smooth. Boil until thickened, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into a gravy boat and serve alongside turkey.

10. Carve turkey and garnish with fresh sage and thyme, if desired.

Apple Cider Glaze
Makes 2 cups

3 cups apple cider (or unfiltered apple juice)
2 cups tawny Port
1 cup turkey broth or chicken broth
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/4 cup cider syrup (substitute local honey if you can’t locate cider syrup)
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Place cider, Port, broth, butter, cider syrup and sage in a medium saucepan and boil rapidly until reduced to about 2 cups.

2. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.

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