Oven Roasted Turkey
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Position rack in lower third of oven.
- Rinse, dry and rough chop equal parts carrots, celery stalks and yellow or white onion, (this classic combination of vegetables is known as a mire poix) and cover the bottom of your turkey roasting pan about an inch or more deep. A pound of carrots, 1 head of celery, and a large onion should do the trick.
- Remove the neck and giblet packet from inside of the turkey and set aside. Place the turkey on top of the mire poix in the roasting pan. Inside the cavity of the turkey, place a handful of fresh thyme, a tablespoon or so of whole black peppercorns, and a couple cloves of garlic. Tie legs together loosely with a piece of butcher's twine to preserve the shape of the turkey. Add the turkey neck to the pan, beside the turkey. Pour 2-3 cups of chicken broth, white wine, water, or any combination of the three into the pan, enough to cover about ¼" deep.
- Brush the turkey liberally with mayonnaise (yes, mayonnaise), making sure to coat the whole thing. Make sure to put the mayo that you're using is in a bowl, not the original container, so that the leftover mayonnaise doesn't get cross contaminated with raw turkey. Sprinkle the bird with kosher or sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, poultry seasoning or rubbed sage, and then dust with paprika, enough that the turkey has a light coating of red dust. The mayonnaise serves a couple of purposes: it provides a surface for the herbs and spices to stick to, and later on, as the turkey cooks, the eggs and the oil in the mayo will help the turkey to self-baste, keeping it nice and moist, and also, along with the dusting of paprika, helping it achieve a nice golden brown color.
- Cover the turkey and the entire top and edges of the roasting pan with plastic wrap, and then cover that tightly with aluminum foil. The plastic wrap will seal the steam from the liquids in, and the foil will keep the plastic from melting.
- Roast turkey in the preheated oven until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 160 degrees F (approximately 2 ½ hours for an average sized unstuffed turkey, up to 16 pounds or so); increase oven temperature to 375°F, and once it reaches that temperature, carefully remove the foil and plastic from the turkey. Roast uncovered for another 30 minutes or so, or until the turkey has browned and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F. Transfer turkey to a serving platter. Loosely cover turkey with aluminum foil and let it rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Reserve vegetable/liquid mixture in the roasting pan for gravy.
- Mix ¼ cup olive oil or melted butter and ⅓ cup flour in small mixing bowl bowl to form a roux (smooth paste).Strain juices from the turkey roasting pan into a large measuring cup, pressing on the mire poix with the back of spoon to extract all liquid from the (now) soft cooked veggies.
- Use a large spoon or a ladle to skim excess fat off the top of the pan juices.
- Add enough chicken broth to pan juices to measure three cups.
- Transfer liquid to heavy medium saucepan and bring to boil.
- Whisk the roux into the boiling broth mixture.
- Boil over medium high heat, whisking occasionally, until the gravy reaches a sauce like consistency (thick enough to coat the back of a spoon), about 10 minutes.
- Season gravy to taste with salt and pepper.