Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Turkey & Gravy

My husband, Ted, made a locally-raised, all-natural free-range turkey for a little pre-Thanksgiving dinner a few nights ago, and I am not exaggerating when I say that it was the best turkey I have ever had. The flavor and tenderness were just perfect, and he prepared the turkey by rubbing it with canola oil instead of butter. But the absolute best thing about this turkey was that our son, Charlie, could not get enough of it. We had to refill his plate 3 times with turkey! The next time we make a turkey, it will be with the same exact method as Ted used on this one.

Anyone that has had Ted's cooking knows that he is a master at making good sauces. It turns out that he is also a master at making amazing gravy! He said that the key to making the gravy was to constantly whisk it and not let it brown.  Gravy is not exactly healthy, but since this is the one time in the whole year that we will make gravy, it is nice to indulge a little bit for a special occasion! 

Thanksgiving Turkey & Gravy

Thanksgiving Turkey


12 pound all-natural free-range turkey
2 organic apples, quartered
2 stalks of organic celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound organic carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 fresh lemon, cut into wedges
Salt and pepper, for seasoning
Canola oil, for rubbing the turkey


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees

2. Season cavity of turkey with salt and pepper. Rub outside of turkey with canola oil and then season with salt and pepper. Our butcher tied the legs together for us, but if your is not tied, use some kitchen twine to tie legs together. 

3. Combine apples, celery, carrots, onion, and lemon in a large bowl and mix together. Stuff the cavity of the turkey with as much of the mixture as needed to fill it.  Place the remainder of the mixture in the bottom of the roasting pan. Add the giblets and neck to the mixture in the bottom of the roasting pan.

4. Place roasting rack over the mixture in the bottom of the pan. Place turkey on the rack, front side up, and tuck the wings in underneath the turkey (so that the breast meat will cook evenly).

5. Bake turkey in center of the oven. The classic method for baking a turkey is 20 minutes per pound, according to foodnetwork.com. Our 12 pound turkey was done in 2 hours and 45 minutes, as indicated by the pop-up thermometer that came with our turkey.  To be sure, check the temperature of the thigh meat with a meat thermometer. It is fully cooked when the thigh meat is 165 degrees.

6. Remove turkey from oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes to lock in the juices. Discard vegetable mixture in cavity and pan. Remove giblets and discard, or save if desired.

7. Carve and enjoy!



2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
Turkey drippings
Organic chicken stock, for thinning
Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Remove rack and vegetable and giblet mixture from roasting pan. 

2. Pour turkey dripping through gravy separator. 

3. Heat roasting pan over medium heat on the stove and melt butter in pan. As butter is melting, whisk in flour to make a roux. When butter and flour are fully combined, whisk in turkey drippings gradually.  Once all drippings are whisked in, if gravy is not thin enough, whisk in chicken stock until gravy reaches desired consistency.

4. Serve with turkey and enjoy!

What are the nutritional benefits of gravy?  Absolutely none, but it is a nice treat once a year at Thanksgiving to make your turkey even more delicious!

What are the nutritional benefits of turkey? Turkey is very high in protein. Just one 4oz serving provides 28g of protein! Turkey is also a great source of iron. If you choose the white meat portion and discard the fat, turkey is very low in fat.  Also, if you discard the fat, you won't double up on the fat if you use gravy!

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