Every year I experiment with different ways to cook turkey. Some go over well at home, others not so much and those get passed over for a blog post. When the latest issue of Saveur landed in our mailbox, the turkey photos caught my eye, especially the photo of the roasted turkey pieces laying on top of a pan of root vegetables. It seemed a like a nice casual kind of Thanksgiving recipe, perfect for a small gathering of friends, and so easy because the turkey and vegetables roast together. The original recipe uses cumin and paprika in the butter, but I decided to use sage instead because I’ve learned over the years that I prefer traditional flavors with my turkey.
We were thrilled with the flavor and how easy it was to make. The turkey came out succulent and tender and the vegetables were very flavorful. And of course we were happy to use fresh herbs and butternut squash from our garden.
Thanksgiving is only a few days away, so it’s time to start executing the Thanksgiving Day plan at our house. The turkey is out of the freezer and thawing in the refrigerator, I’ve already made the cranberries, and tonight I’ll make the eggnog gelato. Tomorrow I’ll make another dessert, maybe some pumpkin gelato, then Wednesday will be a big preparation day making pumpkin pies, green beans, rolls, gluten-free pumpkin scones, and pumpkin muffins. On Thursday we’ll finish the gluten-free cornbread stuffing, make some mashed potatoes, roast the turkey, and make the gravy. Then we’ll pop the corks and serve some bubbly with dinner because that’s how we do Thanksgiving at our house.
However you choose to celebrate Thanksgiving, we hope you get to spend time with family and friends. For us, that’s the best part.
ROAST TURKEY WITH ROOT VEGETABLES AND GRAVY
Adapted from Saveur.
Serves 10 to 12.
large roasting pan
instant read thermometer
large serving platter
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks/170 g) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
2 shallots, minced
TURKEY & VEGETABLES
12 pound (5.4 kg) turkey, cut into 8 pieces
freshly ground black pepper
4 medium red potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 turnips, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 celery root, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 sprigs fresh thyme
5 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 cup (240 ml) dry white wine or sherry
1 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
1. Preheat the oven to 500° F/260° C.
2. In the medium bowl, mix together the softened butter, parsley, sage, and shallots until the herbs and shallots are evenly distributed throughout.
3. Loosen the turkey skin and rub the butter mixture underneath. Sprinkle kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper on the skin.
4. In the large bowl, toss the vegetables with the olive oil, then sprinkle with more kosher salt and black pepper. Transfer the vegetables to the large roasting pan and spread to cover the bottom. Scatter the thyme and rosemary sprigs on top, then arrange the turkey pieces over the herbs and vegetables.
5. ROAST: Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° F/175° C. Continue roasting until the thermometer reads 150° F/66° C in each breast and 160° F/71° C in each leg, thigh, and wing. Some pieces will be done before others, and each piece should be removed as it reaches temperature. Place turkey pieces on a large platter and cover with foil. Leave the vegetables in the pan and continue cooking until they are fully tender, about 15 minutes more. Transfer the cooked vegetables to the platter with the turkey or a large bowl.
6. GRAVY: Strain the pan juices into the fat separator and let the fat rise to the top. Pour the juices (minus the fat) into the saucepan. Add the wine and bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Mix the cornstarch and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl, then whisk it into the reduced liquid. Return to a boil and season with a little more salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the turkey and vegetables.