Traditional Roast Turkey with Gravy
Serves: 10-12
  • 12-14 pound fresh turkey, giblet bag and neck removed, rinsed, patted dry and seasoned with 3 Tablespoons* kosher salt as soon as you bring it home from the market (2-3 days in advance is best)
  • *2 Tablespoons in the cavity, 2 teaspoons on breast and 2 teaspoons on thighs and legs. Whatever is left on your hands, rub on the breast meat underneath the skin.
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into thirds
  • small bunch of parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs and/or sage leaves
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 apple, quartered or cores from 2 apples
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-2 cups stock or water
  • Gravy
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken or turkey stock, preferably homemade
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. The day of roasting, take turkey out of refrigerator and wipe dry with paper towels. Bring to room temperature, about 60-90 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Position a rack in the lowest rung of the oven. Oil a V-shaped rack in a roasting pan.
  3. Sprinkle a little freshly ground black pepper in the cavity and then add in the onion, celery, herbs, lemon and apple. Truss the turkey by tying the legs together. Brush the skin all over with some of the butter.
  4. Place the turkey on the rack in the pan, breast-side down. Bend the wing tips behind the back. Roast for 40 minutes, basting with butter after 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees, turn breast side up (I usually wear clean rubber gloves to do this) and add 1 cup stock or water to the roasting pan. Continue to roast, basting with the remaining butter until used up and then with the pan juices every 20-30 minutes. Add additional stock to the roasting pan if you notice there are no pan juices with which to baste the turkey.
  5. Roast until golden and cooked through. After about 2 ½ hours, start testing for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the breast away from the bone; it should register 165-170 degrees. You may also test the thigh – it should read 180 degrees. The turkey should roast a total of about 3 hours or 13-15 minutes per pound, but it can range from 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours.
  6. Transfer to a cutting board or warmed platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil until ready to carve, at least 20 minutes (I prefer longer.) Use the pan juices to make gravy.
  7. To prepare the gravy: Pour all the pan juices, including the fat into a gravy separator. Allow the fat to separate from the juices.
  8. Heat the roasting over medium heat on the stove and add the pan juices plus the apple brandy. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to dislodge any brown bits that stick to the bottom of the pan. Strain into a bowl or you can use the gravy separator again.
  9. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the reserved fat from the gravy separator until it is bubbly. You should have at least 3-4 Tablespoons. If you don’t, add some olive oil or butter. Add the flour and whisk rapidly to cook the flour, about 2-3 minutes.
  10. Whisk in the strained pan juices and 3 cups of stock to the saucepan until smooth. Bring to simmer and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm on lowest heat. Add additional stock as needed to achieve desired consistency.
Recipe by Pamela Salzman at