Maple-Glazed Thanksgiving Turkey

Ingredients

14 inches to 16-pound turkey (completely defrosted the refrigerator, if necessary)
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 bay leaves (Call me! My bay tree is overloaded.)
4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3 carrots, roughly chopped
10 cloves garlic (leave papery skin on)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or 1 can organic chicken broth)

Preparation

1
Preheat the oven to 350° F. If the stuffing was refrigerated, bring it to room temperature before putting it into the bird.
2
Remove any innards from the turkey. Remove any excess fat from the neck or chest cavity and rinse the cavities thoroughly with cool water and pat dry. Season liberally with salt and black pepper.
3
Combine the butter, orange juice, maple syrup, thyme, salt, and black pepper in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat to melt, about 60 seconds.
4
Stuff the turkey lightly with your desired stuffing; do not pack it in. This size bird will accommodate about 7 cups total. If there is skin to pull together to cover the stuffing, secure it with skewers. If this skin has been trimmed off, cover the exposed stuffing with foil.
5
Add bay leaves, chopped vegetables, garlic, and 1 cup of stock (or water) to the roasting pan. Place a roasting rack in the pan (one that is high enough to hold the turkey above the liquids). Brush the turkey liberally with the melted thyme butter and place on the rack, breast side down.
6
Place the pan on the middle rack of the preheated oven to roast. Baste the turkey every 30 minutes with the thyme butter.
7
After 1 hour, flip the turkey onto its back for the remaining cooking time. If any areas start to darken too quickly, cover lightly with foil. Continue to baste every 30 minutes. If the pan dries out, add additional stock or water. Never let the pan become dry.
8
This size turkey will take about 4 hours to roast (about 20 minutes per pound). The turkey is done when a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 160° F; the juices should run clear when you pierce the thigh.
9
Remove the turkey from the pan and place it on a carving board. Tent the turkey loosely with foil and let rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. This gives you plenty of time to make the pan gravy.

Tools

About

I highly recommend you make the effort to order an heirloom or heritage turkey to celebrate this Thanksgiving. Heritage turkeys—like the Bourbon Red, White Holland, Standard Bronze, Naragansett, and Jersey Buff—are a few steps removed from what the pilgrims enjoyed, but they are also many rungs up the flavor and sustainability ladder from the breast-heavy, over-bred birds offered up by conventional sources.

This method of preparing the year’s most traditional main dish is just simply the one! Because it's cooked low and slow, suspended over flavorful liquids, it yields a juicy, crisp, golden bird every time. Even first-timers can follow these simple instructions and look like a Thanksgiving maven. Serve this delicious turkey with Caramelized Pan Gravy.

Yield:

12.0 servings (plus leftovers)

Added:

December 10, 2009

Creator:

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