Honey-Brined Turkey with Giblet Cream Gravy
Yield: Makes 14 to 16 servings
Janet Fletcher, food writer, says,”My grandmother could never seem to make enough of her creamy giblet gravy; everyone always wanted more. We poured it over the mashed potatoes, dressing and turkey, then over open-face sandwiches the next day. Of course, it’s great with this turkey, too: The bird gets its incredible moistness from being soaked overnight in a brine enhanced by thyme, garlic cloves and honey.”Because of the brining process, we don’t recommend stuffing this turkey.
1 19- to 20-pound turkey; neck, heart and gizzard reserved for gravy
8 quarts water
2 cups coarse salt
1 cup honey
2 bunches fresh thyme
8 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons coarsely cracked black pepper
2 lemons, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups (about) canned low-salt chicken broth
Reserved turkey neck, heart and gizzard
6 cups water
3 1/2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 onion, halved
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1 small bay leaf
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup whipping cream
Line extra-large stockpot with heavy large plastic bag (about 30-gallon capacity). Rinse turkey; place in plastic bag. Stir 8 quarts water, 2 cups coarse salt and 1 cup honey in large pot until salt and honey dissolve. Add 1 bunch fresh thyme, peeled garlic cloves and black pepper. Pour brine over turkey. Gather plastic bag tightly around turkey so that bird is covered with brine; seal plastic bag. Refrigerate pot with turkey in brine at least 12 hours and up to 18 hours.
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Drain turkey well; discard brine. Pat turkey dry inside and out. Squeeze juice from lemon halves into main cavity. Add lemon rinds and remaining 1 bunch fresh thyme to main cavity. Tuck wings under turkey; tie legs together loosely to hold shape. Place turkey on rack set in large roasting pan. Rub turkey all over with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Roast turkey 1 hour. Baste turkey with 1 cup chicken broth. Continue to roast until turkey is deep brown and thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 180°F, basting with 1 cup chicken broth every 30 minutes and covering loosely with foil if turkey is browning too quickly, about 2 1/2 hours longer. Transfer turkey to platter. Tent turkey loosely with foil and let stand 30 minutes. Pour pan juices into large glass measuring cup. Spoon off fat; reserve juices.
While turkey cooks, place reserved turkey neck, heart and gizzard into large saucepan. Add 6 cups water, 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, carrots, onion, celery and bay leaf. Simmer over medium heat until turkey stock is reduced to 3 cups, about 2 hours. Strain turkey stock into bowl; reserve turkey neck and giblets. Pull meat off neck. Chop neck meat and giblets.
Melt 5 tablespoons butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add 5 tablespoons all purpose flour and whisk 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in turkey stock, cream and up to 1 cup reserved turkey pan juices (juices are salty, so add according to taste). Simmer gravy until thickened to desired consistency, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add chopped turkey neck meat and giblets; season to taste with pepper.
Serve turkey with gravy.
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