What's turkey without gravy? Anna Olson shares her go-to recipe for Thanksgiving dinner.
1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon (15 mL) finely chopped fresh thyme
Salt and black pepper
1 leek, white and light green parts only, washed and sliced
12 lb (5.4 kg) fresh whole turkey
2 oz dry white vermouth
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken or turkey stock (including strained pan juices)
Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
Stir the butter with the thyme and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside. Arrange the sliced leeks in the centre of a large roasting pan and place the turkey on top. Spoon the dressing into the cavity of the turkey. Pat the skin dry with a paper towel and rub the thyme butter over the entire surface of the bird, finishing with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Cook the turkey, uncovered and baste it every 20 minutes or so (more often as the turkey gets closer to being done), for about 4 hours. Use a meat thermometer to check whether it is done: the recommended temperatures are 170°F (77°C) in the breast, 180°F (82°C) in the thigh and 165°F (74°C) in the centre of the stuffing.
Transfer your cooked turkey to a cutting board or platter to rest for 20 minutes.
Strain the drippings from the roasting pan through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Separate the fat from the pan juices using a gravy-separating pitcher or by skimming off the fat that floats to the top with a baster or a spoon. reserve both the fat and the pan juices.
Discard the leeks if they are scorched, if they are not reserve them to add back to the gravy at the end if you wish.
Place the roasting pan on the stove over medium heat and add the vermouth. Using a wooden spoon to loosen the caramelized bits at the bottom of the pan. Add a quarter cup of the pan drippings and the flour, continuing to stir over medium heat until a nutty aroma develops, about four minutes. TIP: For a darker gravy, let the flour turn light brown, for an extra two minutes.
Switch to a whisk and slowly pour in one cup of the stock while whisking continuously. As soon as the gravy thickens, whisk in another cup. Once the gravy thickens again and begins to bubble, whisk in the remaining one cup of stock in a slow steady stream and let it reach a full simmer before adding the reserved leeks (if using) and seasoning to taste.
To serve, carve the turkey into slices and serve with the stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce. Enjoy!
TIP: Leftover turkey can be wrapped well and refrigerated for up to three days, or diced. You can also leave it in larger pieces and freeze in airtight containers for up to three months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge before using it.