Sage-Rubbed Roast Turkey with Lemon-Bay Gravy
To season turkey: The day before you want to roast your turkey, combine sage, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Remove giblets from turkey and set aside in the refrigerator for making stock. Place the turkey in a roasting pan and pat the sage mixture all over it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.Advertisement
To prepare giblet stock: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the reserved neck and giblets, onion, carrot, celery and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add water, peppercorns and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, skimming off any foam that rises to the top, for 1 hour. Strain. If desired, remove giblets and mince for gravy. Refrigerate for up to 1 day.
To roast turkey: About 30 minutes before you're ready to roast the turkey, position a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 425 degrees F.
Transfer the turkey to a work surface. Wipe out the roasting pan. Stuff lemon halves in the turkey cavity. Coat a roasting rack with cooking spray and place it in the pan. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Place the turkey breast-side down on the rack and let it stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
Roast the turkey for 40 minutes. Carefully flip it over so the breast side is up. (To turn the hot turkey, use silicone gloves, turkey forks or cover the turkey with foil and use oven mitts.) Add 2 cups hot water to the pan to prevent the drippings from burning. Continue to roast until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh (without touching bone) registers 160 degrees F, 50 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of your turkey.
Carefully transfer the turkey to a large, clean cutting board. Set the roasting pan aside, reserving the pan drippings for the gravy. Loosely cover the turkey with foil and let rest 20 to 30 minutes before removing the string and carving.
To prepare gravy: Pour any pan juices and fat from the roasting pan into a large glass measuring cup and place in the freezer until the fat rises to the top, about 10 minutes. (Alternatively, pour into a fat separator then pour the defatted juices into a large measuring cup.)
Whisk 1/2 cup of the reserved giblet stock with flour in a small bowl until smooth. Return the defatted pan drippings to the roasting pan along with the remaining 3 1/2 cups stock. Set the roasting pan over two burners on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Boil for 4 minutes, whisking occasionally and scraping up the browned bits.
Whisk the stock-flour mixture again and add to the pan. Cook, whisking constantly, until the gravy thickens, about 4 minutes more. Before serving, pour the gravy through a fine-mesh sieve, if desired, to strain out any lumps. Stir in reserved minced giblets, if using. Season with pepper.
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate giblet stock (Step 2) for up to 1 day.
Equipment: Kitchen string
Tip: For the best taste and texture, we like using a “natural” or “organic” turkey--it does not have any added “sodium solution” found in most conventional turkeys and has a better taste and texture. Turkeys labeled “heritage” are also typically “natural.”
3 1/2 lean meat