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Karen’s Roast Thanksgiving Turkey Basted with Fruit Juices and Marsala Gravy

Turkey Talk + Thanksgiving 2023 – All the Delicious Recipes!

The Countdown to Thanksgiving is Upon Us – Create the most memorable meal with my creative, original & well tested recipes!
See all: APPETIZERS, SOUPS, SALADS, SIDE-DISHES, TURKEY WITH THE BEST GRAVY & DESSERTS!

Roast Turkey with Marsala Gravy, Sautéed Asparagus with Cranberries and Almonds and Layered Purple & Ivory Mashed Potatoes
Roast Turkey with Marsala Gravy, Sautéed Asparagus with Cranberries and Almonds and Layered Purple & Ivory Mashed Potatoes

Let’s Talk Turkey!

What type of turkey buy?

  • The different types of Turkeys available for Thanksgiving can be a little overwhelming… You might see these names: Free Range, Organic, Natural, Kosher, Frozen, Pasture Raised and Heritage (known to have more dark meat)
  • I buy a fresh turkey. Living close to a Whole Foods Market, I have found there Organic Turkey to be heavy with breast meat and flavorful
  • Another great option is to buy from a local poultry farmer ~ if there is one near you! 
  • Best to try from one source, roast it up and decide if that is the turkey that wins praises, and can buy it the next year
  • Do not buy a “basted,” or “injected” turkey because those birds are usually factory-farmed and injected with additives and solutions pump them up to make them bigger. Ugh!
  • The label  “natural” should define one that doesn’t have anything added to it (such as a salt solution)
  • Assume two pounds for each adult and one pound for each kid to guarantee leftovers
  • Pop-up timers – Those little red plastic dots in the breast of some turkeys may seem helpful, but the truth is, they are not sufficient on their own. “They measure the temperature in only one spot
  • You know it’s cooked and safe to eat when the temperature of all parts of the bird reaches 165° F.  Use an instant-read thermometer in the inner thigh, wing, and thickest part of the breast
Karen’s Roast Thanksgiving Turkey Basted with Fruit Juices and Marsala Gravy Recipe
Karen’s Roast Thanksgiving Turkey Basted with Fruit Juices and Marsala Gravy

Brining:

  • Soaking a turkey overnight in a solution of salt and water and aromatics ensures moist results. When you add aromatics to the brine, the resulting roast is also infused with a subtle character all its own. Some say: The greatest advantage of wet brining is that it results in the juiciest possible, while others express – it’s juicy, but the juice is watery. A wet turkey can be slow to brown, so for the best results, remove the turkey from the brine at least 6 hours before you plan to roast and rinse it, if desired, then pat it dry and let it sit in the refrigerator, uncovered in order to dry the surface. Alternatively, you can pat the turkey dry and allow it to stand at room temperature 1 hour. Drying the turkey assures a crispier skin.
  • How to Brine: Bring 1/2 cup water to boil. Add it to your largest pot which will hold your turkey.  Add your flavoring: 1/2 cup salt, 1/4 cup pure cane sugar, a few broken bay leaves, a dozen whole cloves, 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes, 1/2 bunch fresh thyme. Stir all well until the sugar dissolves. Add your cleaned turkey, then cover with cool filtered water. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or up to 18 hours. Pat dry when ready to roast – best if you can remove it from the brine 6 hours ahead to dry. (Many recipes call for LOTS of sugar and salt. My method works well!)

Technique/Method:

  • I like to wet brine my turkey, then pat day and leave in the refrigerator to dry, or as I said above, can leave at room temperature one hour
  • Rub all over, inside & our with lemon
  • Oil and season the bird, truss with butcher’s twine/string
  • Scatter ALL the vegetables on the bottom of pan, place Turkey on a V-rack – breast side down
  • Roast until vegetables are VERY DARK (most important; takes about 1 hour)
  • Add chicken broth and herbs to the pan – turn turkey over carefully – now breast side up
  • Baste with fruit juices from time to to time
  • Insert a meat thermometer (the one I have) in the breast, it should read 165 degrees (the thermometer should not be placed near a bone.) When pierced, the juices will run clear

Carving:

Let the turkey cool before carving. At least 20 minutes for a medium bird; 40 minutes for a large one This Electric Carving Knife is affordable, I have had it for many years!
Karen’s Marsala Turkey Gravy for Thanksgiving
Karen’s Marsala Turkey Gravy for Thanksgiving

Make the Most Amazing Gravy: will have a deep, rich mahogany- brown color, and luscious flavor:

  • Strain the broth from the turkey pan into a bowl, press hard on the solids to extract all the flavor from the vegetables. Measure the broth, add a little more stock to equal 3 cups (use the reserved broth – will have reduced while roasting.)
  • Make a roux – melt butter and then add flour, whisk 1 minute
  • Add some stock, marsala wine, s & p and a rosemary sprig
  • When starts to thicken add remainder of the stock and whisk until smooth
  • Reduce to a nice thick consistency
  • Remember: the best gravy is achieved from the browning of all the vegetables on the bottom of your turkey pan!

Karen’s Thanksgiving Recipes: Turkey, Gravy and All the Sides to Make, Serve & Devour!
See all 20 Recipes!

Natural Candied Yams with Apple Cider Cinnamon recipe
Natural Candied Yams with Apple Cider Cinnamon Glaze
A must for Thanksgiving! A wonderful thick glaze surrounds rounds of yams with a cinnamon essence. A healthier lightened- up recipe!
A beautifully sticky glaze that’s not too sweet. The trick: reduce Fresh Apple Cider! I make these every year!

Karen’s Appetizers / Hors d’oeuvres & Soups for Thanksgiving
See All 19 Recipes:

NEW RECIPE: Party Caramelized Red Onions & Apple Baked Brie
NEW RECIPE: Party Caramelized Red Onions & Apple Baked Brie
A crowd-pleasing Melty-Cheese Appetizer that’s easy to make and fun to eat!
Sauté Red Onions low & slow, add apples and seasonings and simply top a wheel of brie and bake.

Thanksgiving Desserts! My Favorite Scrumptious Holiday Recipes!
See all 19 Recipes!

Lightened-Up Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Chocolate
Lightened-Up Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Chocolate Biscotti Crust and Honey Peanuts
A Creamy Cheesecake made with Cottage Cheese – no cream cheese here!
Decadent and creamy – Make my recipe: Chocolate Peanut Biscotti for the crust and pile on some Honey Peanuts on top ~ see that recipe too!

Next Friday I will be sending MY FAVORITE AFTER THANKSGIVING RECIPES (using your leftovers!)

Greek Lemon Turkey Soup (an after Thanksgiving special recipe)
Greek Lemon Turkey Soup (an after Thanksgiving special recipe (One of the recipes)

Best wishes to you at Thanksgiving.
I hope it is a joyous and delicious celebration with your most cherished family and friends.

Reach out to me with any questions: karen@azestforlife.com
Karen

My next Cooking Class in Greenwich: Holiday Hors d’oeuvres – From Tostadas to Tapas                                         November 29, 2023

Karen's Roast Thanksgiving Turkey Basted with Fruit Juices and Marsala Gravy

Karen's Roast Thanksgiving Turkey Basted with Fruit Juices and Marsala Gravy

How to cook the perfect turkey, stuffing and gravy. I have developed this recipe after years in the kitchen. You will use this recipe over and over again! 
See notes above the recipe ~ why this recipe works, and is the most flavorful turkey.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 20 servings
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Ingredients

  • 14 pounds (12 – 16 pounds) fresh turkey, cleaned & dried (see below)
  • one half lemon
  • 2 teaspoons neutral oil such as safflower, expeller pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 2 large carrots cleaned, sliced
  • 1 large ribs celery cleaned, sliced
  • 1 large onion peeled and sliced
  • 6 large garlic cloves peeled
  • 3 cups chicken broth/stock preferably homemade
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 bunch fresh sage
  • 1/2 bunch fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme

Instructions

  • Make Chestnut Stuffing with Shiitake Mushrooms, Apricots and Fresh Herbs. (Can be made the day before.)
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rub the turkey inside and out with the lemon, then discard. Fill the body and neck cavity with the stuffing* (see recipe.) Do not fill too tightly, put the extra stuffing in a separate oiled baking pan to heat later. Truss the turkey and tie the legs together firmly. Rub the turkey all over with 2 t. oil, and then the salt and pepper.
    *If stuffing the turkey - the cooking time is raised by about 30 minutes. You may cook the stuffing in a baking pan to hold - basting with a little broth, and uncovering at the end for a cripsy top.
  • Scatter the carrots, celery, onions and garlic on the bottom of a heavy roasting pan. Place the turkey, breast side DOWN on a V – rack.
    Roast until the vegetables are very golden, DO NOT ADD BROTH TO THE PAN UNTIL THE VEGETABLES HAVE DEVELOPED A RICH COLOR - about 1 hour.
    Do not burn the vegetables, but you will want a deep colored and flavored gravy – the vegetables must be dark in color.
  • Add 3 cups of chicken broth to the bottom of the pan with the fresh herbs (sage, tarragon & thyme.) Carefully turn the turkey over, breast side up and baste with the pomegranate and pineapple juice (a pastry brush is useful.) Roast until the juices run clear. Baste occasionally, alternating with the pan juices and the fruit juices. The fruit juices will give the turkey a beautiful mahogany color.
  • Tent with foil in the last hour if the turkey gets too dark. Insert a meat thermometer in the breast, it should read 165 degrees (the thermometer should not be placed near a bone.) When pierced, the juices will run clear.  A 14 lb. turkey should take about 3 hours to cook, 20 minutes per lb. A 16 pound turkey should take about 3 1/2 hours. Allow a little extra time for a turkey that is well stuffed, about 30 minutes longer.
  • Make Karen’s Marsala Turkey Gravy – see recipe. It's amazing, and makes the meal!
  • Cooking a larger turkey? For an 20 - 22 pound turkey – add 1/2 more of all ingredients.

Why to Brine a Turkey:

  • Soaking a turkey overnight in a solution of salt and water ensures moist results. When you add aromatics to the brine, the resulting roast is also infused with a subtle character all its own. Some say: The greatest advantage of wet brining is that it results in the juiciest possible, while others express – it’s juicy, but the juice is watery. A wet turkey can be slow to brown, so for the best results, remove the turkey from the brine at least 6 hours before you plan to roast and rinse it, if desired, then pat it dry and let it sit in the refrigerator, uncovered in order to dry the surface.

Wet Brining Easy Recipe:

  • Brine: Bring 1/2 cup water to boil. Add it to your largest pot which will hold your turkey. Add your flavoring: 1/2 cup salt, 1/4 cup pure cane sugar, a few broken bay leaves, a dozen whole cloves, 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes, 1/2 bunch fresh thyme. Stir all well until the sugar dissolves. Add your cleaned turkey, then cover with cool filtered water. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Pat dry when ready to roast – best if you can remove it from the brine 6 hours ahead to dry. Alternatively, you can pat the turkey dry and allow it to stand at room temperature 1 hour. Drying the turkey assures a crispier skin. (Many recipes call for LOTS of sugar and salt. My method works well!)
  • Let the turkey cool before carving. At least 20 minutes for a medium bird; 40 minutes for a large one.

Notes

See the website for many After Thanksgiving Recipes
This recipe may not be reproduced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer.
 
COURSE: Main Course, Thanksgiving
CUISINE: American
KEYWORDS: Roast Thanksgiving Turkey, Thanksgiving Turkey Basted with Fruit Juices, Thanksgiving Turkey with Marsala Gravy
Nutrition Facts
Karen's Roast Thanksgiving Turkey Basted with Fruit Juices and Marsala Gravy
Amount per Serving
Calories
339
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
13
g
20
%
Saturated Fat
 
3
g
19
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
162
mg
54
%
Sodium
 
327
mg
14
%
Potassium
 
592
mg
17
%
Carbohydrates
 
3
g
1
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
2
g
2
%
Protein
 
50
g
100
%
Vitamin A
 
1344
IU
27
%
Vitamin C
 
2
mg
2
%
Calcium
 
37
mg
4
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Karen’s Roast Thanksgiving Turkey Basted with Fruit Juices and Marsala Gravy

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