Prep Time: 20 minutes
Roast Time: Varies minutes
16-20lb Pasture Raised Turkey, fresh or fully thawed
2-3 leeks, washed quartered and sliced in half
2-apples, cored and cut into wedges
2" knob of ginger, washed and sliced
1/4-1/2 cup good quality unsalted butter
1 1/2- tsp good quality salt
1-tsp ground pepper
2 tsp ea. sage and thyme or 2 tsp Herbs de Provence
Roaster with all bits in, but turkey removed
2-3 tablespoons gluten free or regular all purpose flour
1-cup dry white wine
4 cups good quality chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1. If your turkey is frozen, thaw completely. Roasting a pastured bird while still partially frozen can create tough meat.
2. Get a roaster pan large enough for the bird to rest in without hanging over the edge. An inexpensive enamel roaster from Canadian Tire will do the job nicely.
3. Creating a veg resting rack is my favourite way to keep the bird from resting on the bottom of roaster.
Veg resting rack:
Take 2-3 leeks and slice off the root end and about 3" of the bottom green ends, leaving much of the green still intact.
Slice leek into three pieces and then cut those in half long ways.
Rinse leeks really well to get all the dirt off.
Scatter these on the bottom of the roaster.
Cut 2 cored apples into four wedges, keep skin on.
Scatter apple wedges on bottom of pan.
1 small 2" piece of fresh ginger adds incredible flavour. Wash (no need to peel) ginger, then simply cut into slices and scatter on the bottom of pan.
Remove bag from fresh or thawed turkey, and take all organ meats and neck out. Rinse well with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Scatter all of these bits into the pan including the neck.
Rinse turkey in cold water inside and out, then pat dry with paper towel, inside the cavity as well as outside.
Using good quality softened butter, generously rub down the dried off bird. If the bird is too damp, the butter just slips about, so really pat it dry first.
Generously salt and pepper the bird and add herb seasoning of choice. My favourites are Herbs de Provence or sage and thyme. Sage and thyme are gorgeous with the apple. Use about 2-3 tsp of herbs.
Place bird onto of your veg rack and put into a pre-heated 375F degree oven for 20 minutes, then reduce oven to 325F degrees and roast until done, for a 20 lb bird this is about 3-1/2 hours depending on oven.
It is a very good idea to use a meat thermometer when you are learning how to cook large birds. You want it to be just under done by a degree or two, because you will remove the bird from oven, tent with foil and let rest for at least 30-45 minutes where it will continue to cook. Overdone turkey is dry and chewy, so really watch that thermometer.
Once bird has rested 45 minutes. Remove turkey to a cutting board and carve. Place meat on a warm serving platter and tent with foil.
To make the perfect sauce:
Remove neck from the roaster pan and peel off the meat bits and add back to the pan, discard the bones in compost. Place roaster pan directly on cooktop. On medium-high heat bring all those juicy bits up to a boil.
Using a potato masher, mash up all those veg bits and stir in 2-3 Tbsp flour, I use a gluten free flour blend that I make myself, but you can simply use unbleached all purpose flour or gluten free all purpose flour for this application.
Mix the flour into all the juice and bits until the flour forms a creamy paste, depending on how much juice and fat the bird produced this requires about 2-3 Tbsp flour.
Add 1- cup of dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock (store bought or homemade)
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix really well and bring to a soft boil. Stir on occation with your potato masher and let reduce for about 15-20 minutes until the gravy is the consistency of your liking. You can add more stock if it gets too thick.
Using a fine mesh strainer, place over a bowl and strain your gravy. Using the potato masher, help get the sauce through all the bits, You'll be left with the bits in the strainer (my dogs love this part :) and a beautiful pan sauce in the bowl. Straining removes all the veg and turkey bits and any flour that didn't quite dissolve, so do not skip this step.
Extra Rich Pan Gravy (optional)
1-3 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
To add extra richness and more of a creamy sauce texture, you can stir in 1 tbsp of cold butter at a time, adding up to 3 tbsp. Butter must be cold, and you need to whisk in each tbsp fully before adding more or the fat will separate.
Add strained pan gravy to a clean saucepan, on place on medium heat. Make sure the sauce is steaming and hot all the way through.
Whisk in 1 tbsp of cold butter at a time, adding up to 3 tbsp. Serve hot.
Keep your gravy warm and serve hot with your delicious turkey!