As winter settles in, most people crave the heartier, comfort foods, to keep us going through those chilly months of the year. Enjoy the following recipes for your next winter dinner party or any time.
1 turkey fresh or frozen, thawed according to package directions
4 carrots, peeled
4 celery stalks
I large onion, cut into quarters
Greek sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the gizzards and any labels from the turkey. Rinse it with cold water and place in a large roasting pan. Juice the lemons and reserve the squeezed out rinds to stuff into the turkey’s cavity. Pour the lemon juice over the turkey. Add the carrots, celery stalks, and onion to the pan. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast the turkey until golden brown according to the times on the package and turning the turkey twice, once when the breast starts to color and then again after the back is golden brown. After the first turn, salt and pepper the back of the turkey and continue roasting. If your oven has a convection roast setting, use it, but raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Allow the roasted turkey to rest at least 15-20 minutes before carving. Strain and reserve the pan juices to make gravy.
Reserved pan juices
2-4 tablespoons dry white wine
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice to taste
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper
The recipe for gravy is more a technique than a strict recipe. The amount you make often depends on the size of the turkey and how much liquid is left after roasting. Adjustments to the amount and flavor of the gravy are made with the addition of white wine, water and lemon juice. The thickener used in this method is all-purpose flour. The recipe above is for a turkey about 14 pounds.
After roasting the turkey, allowing it to rest and transferring it to a carving board or platter, pour the reserved pan juices through a fine strainer into a heat and cold-proof container, like a large pyrex measuring cup, and set them in the refrigerator to cool in order to skim some of the fat that will rise to the top. Chill for at least 30 minutes, though the longer it cools the easier it is to see and skim off the fat. Leave as much or as little of the fat as you prefer, the flavor is really in the juices underneath. If you frequently make gravy, you might consider buying a specifically designed fat separator, with a spout that allows you to pour the warm juices into your saucepan while holding back the fat. It saves a little time if you’re in a hurry to make your gravy otherwise the refrigerator method works fine.
Once you have skimmed off the fat, place the remaining pan juices in a medium to large saucepan depending on the amount of gravy you’re making and the amount of juices remaining. Add water if the juices are already very concentrated from roasting. If your roasting pan is quite dry, deglaze by adding a few tablespoons of white wine or water to the pan, heating it on the stovetop and scraping with a wooden spoon to release the cooked bits that will make your gravy tasty. Reduce over medium heat. Pour through a strainer into a saucepan over medium heat. In a bowl measure out 5 tablespoons of flour for 4-5 cups of gravy. Stir in enough water to make a slurry and add to the saucepan to thicken the gravy. Stir constantly with a wire whisk to avoid
lumps. Though if you do get lumps, don’t panic, just pour the gravy through a strainer and into another saucepan and continue simmering until the gravy is bubbling and thickened. Add lemon to taste for freshness and acidity. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Pour gravy into a gravy boat or serving dish and enjoy with your turkey.
*Gravy troubleshooting: If your gravy is too thin, add a little more flour and continue simmering and stirring until the gravy thickens. Make sure you allow the gravy to cook thoroughly, at least ten minutes after adding additional flour in order to avoid an uncooked flour taste.
If the gravy is too thick, add more of the reserved pan juices if any are left, or a little more water or lemon juice, taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed.