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Roast Turkey With Maple-Pepper Butter

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“Turkeys are just not designed to roast evenly, with the breast being completely cooked long before the wings and legs. This recipe deals with that problem. While you won't be able to carve an entire bird at the table, you will have a perfectly roasted, truly succulent bird and magnificent gravy! This recipe is well-worth the little extra work involved. Enjoy.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Make the glaze: In a food processor, combine the butter, 6 tblsps of the maple syrup, 3 tblsps of the lemon juice, the lemon zest, coarsely ground pepper and salt; process until blended and transfer to a bowll; in another bowl, combine the remaining ¼ cup maple syrup, 1 tblsp lemon juice and finely ground pepper (can be made 1 day ahead – return to room temperature before proceeding).
  2. Marinate the turkey: In a 2-gallon plastic bag, combine the lemon juice, maple syrup, olive oil, shallots, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, lemon zest and pepper; add the turkey to the bag, squeeze out as much air as possible and seal the bag; distribute the marinade evenly over and inside the turkey (think of this as a therapeutic, turkey massage); set the turkey, breast side down, in a bowl in the refrigerator and marinate for 24 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. Preaheat oven to 450F; position the oven rack near the bottom of the oven.
  4. Wipe off the shallots and garlic from the turkey and pat dry; strain the marinade into a bowl, skim off the oil and reserve; set the herbs, garlic and shallots aside separately.
  5. Using your fingers, carefully loosen the turkey skin over the breast and thighs; put all but 3 tblsps of the softened maple-pepper butter under the breast and thigh skin, patting gently to spread the butter; put 1/3 each of the diced onions and celery in the cavity; tie the legs together with kitchen string and set the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan; rub the breast and thigh skin with the remaining maple-pepper butter and roast for 30 minutes, basting twice; because the sugar in the maple syrup may cause the turkey skin to brown quickly in places, cover loosely with foil; lower the oven temperature to 350F; spread the remaining onions and celery around the turkey and roast for about 1 ½ hours longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast, just above the wing-joint reaches 165F, and the juices run clear.
  6. Transfer to a carving board and let stand, loosely covered with foil, for 30 minutes; remove the whole legs from the turkey, cutting them off at the hip joint; cut off the wings from the breast; return the wings and legs to the pan and roast for about 30 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 180F and the juices run clear; transfer the legs and wings to the turkey on the carving board, cover with foil and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.
  7. Make the gravy: Set the roasting pan over 2 burners over high heat and cook the vegetables, stirring, until golden brown; carefully pour off all but 2 tblsps of the fat; add the flour and whisk for 1 minute; add the reserved marinade and the chicken stock and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits; simmer, whisking constantly, for 3 minutes; strain the gravy into a saucepan and boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 10 minutes; season with salt and pepper; serve alongside the turkey.
  8. Note: The standing period before removing the turkey legs and wings, along with the extra roasting time for these parts will have resulted in the main carcass having cooled down considerably; while making the gravy, cover the turkey with foil and pop back into a slow oven to warm up.

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