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Roasted Dry-Brined Turkey

For a beautiful, natural garnish, arrange fresh sage and bay leaves, cracked walnuts, and cranberries around the roasted turkey. Taste the gravy before deciding whether to season with salt.

  • Servings: 14
Roasted Dry-Brined Turkey

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2008

Ingredients

FOR THE PAN GRAVY

  • Pan drippings, reserved from turkey
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Simple Giblet Stock, or 4 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium turkey or chicken stock
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

FOR THE TURKEY

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 14 dried bay leaves, 10 crushed, 4 left whole
  • 1 whole fresh turkey (22 to 24 pounds), giblets and neck reserved for Simple Giblet Stock
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for baking dish if needed
  • 1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • Leek-Celery Root Stuffing
  • 1 cup water, plus more if needed

Directions

  1. Make the turkey: Combine 2/3 cup salt and crushed bay leaves in a small bowl. Rinse inside and outside of turkey, and pat dry with paper towels. Rub 2 tablespoons salt mixture evenly inside turkey cavity, 2 tablespoons on each leg portion, 1 1/2 teaspoons on each wing, and 2 tablespoons on each breast. Place turkey in a large oven bag and seal tightly, removing any trapped air. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate for 48 hours.

  2. Remove turkey from bag, and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Combine 1 stick butter, the wine, and whole bay leaves in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.

  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in lowest position. Rinse inside and outside of turkey, and pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Tuck wings under turkey. Season cavity with salt and pepper, and loosely fill it with 4 cups stuffing. (To bake remaining stuffing, see recipe below.) Tie legs together with kitchen string. Rub remaining 1/2 stick butter on turkey, and season with salt and pepper. Pour water into roasting pan.

  4. Place turkey, legs first, into oven. Roast for 30 minutes, then baste with butter-wine mixture. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees, and roast, basting with butter-wine mixture every 30 minutes, for 2 1/2 hours. (Add more water to roasting pan if necessary to prevent pan drippings from burning.) Rotate pan, and roast until skin is golden brown and thickest part of thigh (avoiding bone) and center of stuffing register 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer 30 to 45 minutes more. (If turkey is done before the stuffing, remove turkey from oven, and spoon stuffing into a buttered baking dish, and continue to roast until golden and center registers 165 degrees.) Transfer turkey to a rimmed baking sheet, reserving pan juices and roasting pan, and let rest for 30 minutes before carving.

  5. Make the pan gravy: Pour reserved pan juices into a glass measuring cup or a gravy separator, and let stand until fat rises to the surface, about 10 minutes. Pour or spoon off fat.

  6. Place reserved roasting pan on 2 burners over medium heat. Add wine, and bring to a gentle simmer, scraping browned bits with a wooden spoon. Whisk flour and giblet stock in a large bowl until combined. Add defatted pan juices, whisking to combine, then pour into roasting pan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half and thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.

  7. Remove pan from heat, and whisk in butter. Strain through a sieve, and discard solids. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

  8. To carve the turkey: Place the turkey in front of you, breast side up, and use your hand to hold it steady. Cut through kitchen string, and discard. Remove drumsticks first by placing a knife against the thigh, cutting alongside body, and slicing through the skin to expose the joint. Apply pressure at the joint with the tip of the knife, then twist the knife, and cut through the joint to release the drumstick. Repeat on the other side. (For an illustrated how-to, see Turkey Carving 101.)

  9. Use a long-handled spoon to scoop out the stuffing, and transfer it to a serving bowl. Slice the thigh meat from the bone.

  10. Place the knife horizontally at the bottom curve of the breast, and slice in toward the rib cage along the length of the breast to create a "guide cut." Then make a vertical slice from the top down alongside the rib cage to loosen the breast meat. Cut the breast vertically into 1/4-inch-thick slices, being careful to preserve some skin. Repeat on the other side. Insert the knife tip at wing joint closest to the turkey, and twist to release wing. Repeat on the other side.

Cook's Note

Make-ahead tip: Salt the turkey and make giblet stock up to two days in advance. Prepare ingredients for stuffing the day before; assemble and bake just before serving.

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