Roast Turkey with Oranges, Bay Leaves, Red Onions, and Pan Gravy by

We think all turkeys are improved by brining (soaking in salted water), but it's a cumbersome process that few holiday schedules can accommodate. We found kosher turkeys, which are salted during the koshering process, to be just as flavorful and succulent as brined ones, without all the fuss. However, if you'd like to try brining, just stir together 8 quarts water with 2 cups kosher salt in a 5-gallon bucket lined with a large heavy-duty garbage bag, and soak turkey, covered and chilled, 10 hours. If you don't have room in your refrigerator, executive editor John Willoughby recommends brining in a large plastic cooler, using freezer packs to keep the water cool and replacing them as needed.

  1. 1 (12 pound) turkey (preferably kosher), any quills removed if necessary and neck and giblets (excluding liver) reserved for making stock
  2. 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  3. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  4. 2 navel oranges, each cut into 8 wedges
  5. 3 small red onions, each cut into 8 wedges
  6. 5 bay leaves (not California)
  7. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  8. Pan juices from roast turkey
  9. 4 cups turkey stock
  10. 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  11. 4 roasted onions, each cut into 8 wedges (optional)
  12. Fresh bay leaves (do not eat)
  1. Roast turkey: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Rinse turkey inside and out and pat dry. Sprinkle turkey inside and out with salt and pepper, then fold neck skin under body and secure with small skewer. Stuff large cavity with oranges, 1 onion, and bay leaves. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen string and secure wings to body with small skewers.
  3. Put turkey on a rack set in a large flameproof roasting pan and roast in middle of oven 30 minutes.
  4. While turkey is roasting, toss remaining 2 onions with 2 tablespoons melted butter.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Brush remaining 1/4 cup butter over turkey and roast 30 minutes more. Baste turkey and scatter buttered onion wedges around it, then roast, basting turkey every 30 minutes (add a little water to pan if onions get too dark) until an instant-read thermometer inserted into fleshy part of a thigh (do not touch bone) registers 170 degrees F, 1 1/2 to 2 hours more (total roasting time: 2 1/2 to 3 hours). Transfer turkey to a platter (do not clean roasting pan) and let stand 25 minutes (temperature will rise to 180 degrees F).
  6. Make gravy: Transfer pan juices with onions to a 2-quart glass measure, then skim off and reserve 1/4 cup fat. Add enough turkey stock to pan juices to make 4 1/2 cups total. Set roasting pan across 2 burners, then add 1 cup stock mixture and deglaze pan by boiling over moderately high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits. Add remaining stock mixture and bring to a simmer. Pour stock through a fine sieve back into glass measure and discard onions.
  7. Whisk together reserved fat and flour in a large heavy saucepan and cook roux over moderately low heat, whisking, 3 minutes. Add hot stock mixture in a fast stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, then simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in any additional turkey juices accumulated on platter and season gravy with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve turkey with gravy on the side.

Yield: 10 servings

NUTRITION INFO per serving

  • Calories: 1040 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 17 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 3 g
  • Fat: 55 g
  • Protein: 112 g
  • Sugars: 10 g