Filed under: Crowd-Pleasing Main Dishes
With several hours’ cooking time, large Thanksgiving turkeys can run the risk of drying out. The solution: Baste the bird with a sweet and spicy gravy.
- 1 12-14 pound turkey
- 1 quart fresh apple cider
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into eight wedges
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Rinse turkey with cold water and pat dry. Refresh cavity with about 1 cup apple cider. (Pour the cider in, then clear it out.)
- Rub skin of turkey with olive oil, massaging all over the bird.
- Season lightly to taste with sea salt and pepper.
- Place turkey on rack (breast side down) in roasting pan and distribute apple slices evenly on bottom of roasting pan. Pour 2 cups of cider over turkey.
- Cook at 325°F, basting with juices every 1/2 hour. After about 2 hours (when skin is golden brown), flip turkey so the breast side is up.
- At this point, also cover wing tips with foil to prevent burning. (If any other part of the bird starts to brown faster, such as the backbone or legs, you may cover that part with foil too.)
- Combine maple syrup with spices. Pour spiced syrup over top of turkey and cook for another hour or two, or until a thermometer inserted in breast reaches 170°F and juices run clear.
- Remove turkey and rack from roasting pan and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes.
- While turkey is resting, remove apples from pan and set aside. Deglaze pan on the stove (you can add a little bit of vinegar or bourbon to help dissolve the browned bits from the pan; the alcohol will burn off and add a nice vanilla caramel flavor).
- For a clear jus, let juices come to a boil and cook until reduced by half. For thicker gravy, mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 12 tablespoons water until thin. Then slowly add to bubbling liquid and stir until cornstarch is incorporated and liquid becomes thicker, about 5 minutes.
- Slice turkey and serve with hot apples and gravy.
Per serving: calories 690, fat 24g, protein 91g, carbohydrates 24g, dietary fiber 2g