Garlic and Herb Roast Turkey with Cider Pan GravyNovember 7, 2016 By Cathy — 38 Comments
Crispy skin, a tender, juicy bird and rich and smooth cider pan gravy…hello Thanksgiving.
The bird. It’s synonymous with Thanksgiving, right? I mean it would be blasphemous not to serve turkey in some form for the big day. But that being said, it can often be underwhelming. Under-seasoned, over-cooked and <EEEEK!> the dreaded dry turkey. But this should come as no surprise. I mean, who is cooking a 20 pound bird more than once or twice a year? So it’s no wonder that we live in fear of the Thanksgiving turkey. But today I tell you to fear no more!
Today we’re talking turkey. But before I get to that, let’s discuss the Thanksgiving meal.
I’m so honored to be joining forces with some amazingly talented women to bring you Thanksgiving dinner, from start to finish. We’ll be kicking things off with a Jalapeño and Ranch Cheese Ball, followed by Apple and Cheddar Hard Cider Soup, Brussels Sprouts Salad, Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing with Sausage and Apples, my Garlic and Herb Roast Turkey with Cider Pan Gravy (over these mashed potatoes) and Garlic Butter Dinner Rolls to sop it all up. Of course no Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without dessert so let me introduce you to the queen of pumpkin cakes: The Maple Praline Pumpkin Cake.
Now, I love my family as much as the next girl, but after reading all of these recipes and drooling over the photos, I wouldn’t be mad at sharing Thanksgiving with these fabulous ladies. But since we’re spread out across the country, we’re doing it blogger-style and sharing our virtual Thanksgiving with you. Please make sure you head on over to all of their blogs to check out these recipes as well as the many others they’ll be sharing for the holidays. These are some talented women and trust me, if you love to eat, you’re going to love their creations.
A Very-Blogger Thanksgiving
The Beach House Kitche
No Spoon Necessary: Apple & Cheddar Hard Cider Soup with Crispy Prosciutto and Pumpkin Seeds.
Hapa Nom Nom: Garlic Butter Dinner Rolls
Ciao Chow Bambina: Tra
Seasonal Cravings: Brussels Sprout Salad with Pear and Pomegranate
The Sweet Nerd: Maple Praline Pumpkin Cake
Now, back to the bird. I’ve made Thanksgiving turkey many ways over the years, wet-brined, dry-brined, no-brine, Martha’s cheesecloth method, flipped over and straight up. And today you’ll reap the benefit of these wins and losses….or as I like to call them, “learning experiences”. I am all about the dry brine, which is fancy talk for rubbing salt and a little sugar over the bird and sticking it in the frig. Yep, I’ve done the big pots of brine and soaked the bird and while good, it wasn’t always worth the effort. For the dry-brine method, you simply rub the salt/sugar mixture over the bird and let it rest uncovered in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. The result? A wonderfully juicy turkey with crispy skin.
To impart flavor, I love an herb butter slathered all over and under the skin. And it’s key to baste, baste, baste and not let the bottom of the pan dry out (we’re going to want all that goodness for our pan gravy). I’m also a believer in a hot oven (425 degrees) for 20 mins, then reducing the temperature to 350 for the remainder of the cooking time. Let’s get a good sear going on that bird for that browned, crispy skin your showstopper deserves. Getting too brown? Simply cover it gently with foil until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees or until the juices run clear.
Now listen, here’s the critical part. REST. No, not for you. You’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner and you can rest tomorrow. No, you’ve got to rest that bird. The bigger the bird, the more rest we’re talking. I recommend at least 30 mins and up to an hour. Besides, we’ve got pan gravy to whip up while your bird relaxes.
So yes, you can make your own turkey stock from the neck and giblets to use in the gravy. I usually do because I can’t tear myself away from the kitchen over the holidays. But I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to. That’s right, they’re are plenty of good quality stocks on the market and your pan gravy won’t suffer a bit if your stock isn’t from scratch. After all, we’ll be using all of those glorious drippings to make our gravy sing.
First things first, remove the bird to a large, (rimmed) cutting board or platter to rest. Tent it with foil so it stays warm. Now pour the drippings into a cup, or even better, a fat separator, but don’t scrape the pan. Place the pan on top of the stove and pour some of the fat back in, add flour (Wondra flour is ideal for smooth gravy) and whisk, whisk, whisk. We’ll cook the flour/fat for a bit to get rid of the raw flour flavor, then very slowly pour in the wine, then the cider, while continuously whisking. Next up, add the turkey stock and any juices that you’ve collected (we’re whisking, we’re whisking) and lastly, season to taste with salt and pepper.
My recipe today is for a smaller bird, about 9 lbs, but all of the same principles apply for a larger one. Obviously you’ll need to adjust the cooking time (think 10 -15 mins per pound) and increase the ingredient quantities. Hosting a large group? This recipe can be easily doubled for an 18 pound bird.
So talk turkey we did today and as a bonus we got all the fixins’ too! But the Thanksgiving well has not run dry my friends, so keep on coming back to see what else will be gracing my table and filling our bellies for the big day. And don’t forget to check out all of the mouth-watering recipes provided by my blogging buddies. I’ll be back on Friday for more Thanksgiving goodness. Until then, enjoy your week!
- 9 lb fresh turkey, giblets removed, washed and dried
- Dry Brine
- 2 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- Garlic and Herb Butter
- 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp minced parsley
- 2 Tbsp minced thyme
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 apple, cored and quartered
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup turkey or chicken stock
- Cider Pan Gravy
- ¼ cup fat from drippings
- ⅓ cup Wondra or all-purpose flour
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup apple cider
- 3 cups turkey or chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- Dry Brine: Combine salt and sugar and rub all over the turkey. Place the turkey on a large baking sheet or roasting pan and place in the refrigerator, uncovered overnight.
- Garlic and Herb Butter: Mix all the ingredients together until combined.
- Turkey: Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and let the bird sit at room temperature for 30 mins to an hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Spread the herb butter all over chicken, including under the skin and in the cavity.
- Stuff the cavity with the herbs, apple and garlic.
- Fold the wings behind the bird and truss the legs together with kitchen twine. Place the bird on a v-rack in a large roasting pan and pour the wine and stock into the bottom of the pan.
- Roast for 20 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. Continue to roast 1½ - 2 hours or until the juices run clear. (or when an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees. It will continue to cook while it rests). Baste the bird frequently and cover loosely with foil if the skin gets too brown. Add a little stock or water to the bottom of the pan if it dries out.
- Remove the turkey from the oven and place on a rimmed cutting board or platter. Tent with foil so the bird stays warm and let it rest for 30 mins to 1 hour.
- Cider Pan Gravy: Pour the drippings into a large measuring cup or fat separator. Do not clean the pan. Measure out ¼ cup of fat and pour back into the roasting pan set over 1-2 burners on your stove on medium heat.
- Whisk in the flour and cook for about two mins. Slowly whisk in the wine and then the cider, scraping the bottom of the pan. Finally add the stock and any collected juices in a slow, steady stream. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To serve: Carve the turkey and serve with gravy alongside.