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Ina Garten’s Make-Ahead Roast Turkey and Gravy With Onion & Sage

by INA GARTEN

The Sunday Dinner Club: We here at The Sunday Paper believe in meaningful conversations around the table, and we want to encourage you to start your own Sunday Dinner Club. Invite friends and family members to your home, reach out virtually, and share meaningful conversations. Then report back to us and tell us about the experience.

The Ingredients of a Meaningful Dinner: 1) Set an intention. 2) Say Grace. 3) Serve healthy food. 4) Start talking. 5) Be open-minded and listen.

Conversation Starter: Always a meaningful Thanksgiving tradition; go around the table and list all of the things you are most grateful for in your life.

MAKE AHEAD ROAST TURKEY
Serves 8

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 (12- to 14-pound) fresh turkey
  • 1 large yellow onion, unpeeled and cut in eighths
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy with Onions and Sage (see below)

Two or three days before you plan to roast the turkey, combine 3 tablespoons of salt, the minced thyme, and lemon zest. Wash the turkey inside and out, drain it well, and pat it all over with paper towels. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the salt mixture in the cavity of the turkey and rub the rest on the skin, including under the wings and legs. Place the turkey in a shallow dish just large enough to hold it and wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one or two days. The day before you plan to roast the turkey, remove the plastic wrap and leave the turkey in the fridge. The skin will dry out and turn a little translucent.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put the turkey in a large roasting pan, discarding any juices in the dish. Place the onion, lemon, and thyme sprigs in the cavity. With kitchen string, tie the legs together and the wings close to the body. Brush the turkey with the butter and sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper.

Roast the turkey for 2 to 2¼ hours, until the breast meat registers 165 degrees (put the thermometer in sideways) on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from the oven and place the turkey on a platter. Cut off the legs and thighs and put them back into the roasting pan, covering the breast and carcass tightly with aluminum foil. Place the roasting pan back in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the dark meat registers 180 degrees. Remove the dark meat to the platter with the turkey, cover it tightly with aluminum foil, and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Pour a ¼-inch layer of the gravy into a large (12 × 16-inch), ovenproof serving platter (make sure it’s ovenproof!). Carve the turkey and arrange it artfully on top of the gravy. Place the platter uncovered into the oven for 15 to 30 minutes, until the turkey is very hot. Serve hot with extra gravy on the side.

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy with Onions & Sage
Makes 4 cups

  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 large red onion, halved and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups good chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
  • 10 large fresh sage leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring often, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the onion becomes browned and starts to caramelize. Sprinkle on the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1½ minutes. Stir in the chicken stock, Cognac, sage leaves, bay leaves, 2 teaspoons salt (depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock), and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour and strain, pressing the solids lightly and then discarding them. Refrigerate until ready to use.

After the turkey is cooked, remove it to a carving board to rest while you finish the gravy. Place the roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat and add the wine. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring and scraping up all the bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. Slowly whisk the gravy base into the pan. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until the gravy is smooth and slightly thickened. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.

Reprinted from Make It Ahead Copyright © 2014 Ina Garten. Photographs copyright © 2014 by Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

This recipe was featured in the November 24th edition of The Sunday Paper. The Sunday Paper inspires hearts and minds to rise above the noise. To get The Sunday Paper delivered to your inbox each Sunday morning for free, click here to subscribe.

INA GARTEN

Ina Garten is the author of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and host of Barefoot Contessa on Food Network.

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