Children don’t care if you’ve slaved for hours over the Thanksgiving turkey. And they certainly don’t appreciate the nuanced layers of flavor you once extracted from the bird with the help of expert brining and seasoning and rotating and roasting and trussing and fussing.
You know, back before you had kids. Back when you had time to worry about such things.
Balancing a gaggle of little ones with the demands of getting Thanksgiving dinner on the table doesn’t mean sacrificing good taste. It just means you need simple recipes that effortlessly deliver stunning results. Which is why we created this plain Jane turkey and gravy that tastes anything but.
PLAIN JANE TURKEY AND GRAVY
Start to finish: 2 1/2 to 3 hours
Makes a 12- to 14-pound turkey with gravy
6 medium carrots, rough chopped
6 stalks celery, rough chopped
3 large yellow onions, quartered
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
12- to 14-pound turkey
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Heat the oven to 350 F. Spread the carrots, celery and onions in an even layer over the bottom of a large roasting pan.
In a small bowl, mix together the butter, salt and black pepper. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Rub the butter mixture all over the inside and outside of the turkey, making sure to get under the skin, too. To do this, gently lift the skin over each breast with one hand while working the butter under it with the other.
Set the turkey over the vegetables and roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, basting the turkey with juices from the pan every 30 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven when the breast reaches 160 F and the thigh reaches 170 F. If the turkey darkens too much before reaching those temperatures, cover it with foil and continue roasting.
Transfer the turkey to a serving platter, cover with foil, then set a large, thick towel over it to keep it warm.
Remove and discard the vegetables from the roasting pan. Place the pan on the stovetop over medium heat (you may need to use more than one burner). Bring the juices to a simmer. Add the white wine and scrape up any browned bits in the pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken broth and flour.
Pour into the pan, whisking continuously. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Strain the gravy, if desired.