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Fennel has sweet flavor notes that pair vibrantly with tart lemon in this juicy Thanksgiving turkey recipe. A rub of herbs mixed with olive oil and lemon juice infuses the meat with flavor without all of the space needed to soak the turkey in a liquid brine. Making the giblet gravy in a large saucepan rather than in the unwieldy turkey roasting pan is way easier to manage on the stovetop--plus it frees up a burner.

Source: EatingWell Magazine, November/December 2016

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Ingredients

Lemon & Fennel Rub
Turkey
Giblet Gravy

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare rub: Mash garlic and salt together on a cutting board to form a paste. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix in lemon zest, lemon juice, oil, 3 tablespoons fresh thyme (or 2 tablespoons dried), fennel, pepper and sugar.

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  • To dry-brine turkey: Reserve giblets and neck for making giblet stock for gravy. Thoroughly pat the turkey dry inside and out with paper towels. Place on a platter and loosen the skin of the breast and legs. Spread about one-third of the rub mixture under the skin, one-third on the outside and the remaining third inside the cavity. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

  • To prepare stock for gravy: Place giblets and neck, carrot, onion, celery, thyme, garlic, bay leaf and parsley (or celery leaves) in a large saucepan. Add 4 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour. Pour the stock through a fine sieve into a 2-cup glass measure. (Discard solids.) You should have 1 3/4 to 2 cups stock.

  • To roast turkey: Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 425 degrees F.

  • Transfer the turkey to a roasting rack set in a roasting pan. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Place onion, lemon and thyme sprigs in the cavity. Tuck the wings under the body and tie the legs together.

  • Roast the turkey until the skin starts to brown in spots, 20 to 30 minutes.

  • Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and roast for 1 hour more.

  • Turn the roasting pan 180 degrees and tent the breast with foil. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh without touching bone registers 165 degrees F, 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours more.

  • Carefully tilt the turkey so the juices from the cavity flow into the pan. Transfer the turkey to a clean cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest 20 minutes before carving.

  • To prepare the gravy: Scrape the drippings and browned bits from the roasting pan into a large saucepan and add the stock. Bring to a boil.

  • Whisk cornstarch and the remaining 3 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Add to the stock mixture, whisking constantly; cook, whisking, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Pour the gravy through a fine-mesh sieve. Season with pepper.

Tips

To make ahead: Refrigerate the stock for the gravy (Step 3) for up to 2 days.

Nutrition Facts

4 oz. turkey (plus leftovers) & 2 1/2 Tbsp. gravy each
247 calories; protein 33g; carbohydrates 3.1g; dietary fiber 0.3g; sugars 0.6g; fat 10.4g; saturated fat 2.8g; cholesterol 122.8mg; vitamin a iu 60.2IU; vitamin c 2.4mg; folate 10.8mcg; calcium 22.9mg; iron 1.4mg; magnesium 36mg; potassium 283mg; sodium 415.7mg; thiamin 0.1mg; added sugar 1g.

4 1/2 lean meat, 1/2 fat

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