Herb-Roasted Turkey with Wild Mushroom Gravy


When we moved to Long Island, one of our Thanksgiving family traditions was to purchase a fresh turkey from the local butcher.  Last year, when I had a second refrigerator for the first time, I purchased our turkey at Trader Joe’s because it was brined, and because I could store it.  My husband was skeptical.  It was the best turkey EVER.  We did it again this year, and we were not disappointed.

The Wild Mushroom Gravy was beyond amazing.  My brother helped prepare it, and he was very proud with the results.  This recipe is from Food and Wine.

Herb Roasted Turkey

For the Turkey:

  • 1 loaf of ciabatta, about 1 pound (if cooking the turkey upside-down)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme, plus 4 large sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage, plus 4 large sprigs
  • coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • One 19- to 20-pound turkey, neck and gizzard reserved
  • 1 large apple (I used a Granny Smith)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large celery rib, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for rubbing
  • 2 cups of chicken stock

For the Gravy:

  • 2-3 tablespoons small dried porcini pieces (or mixed dried wild mushrooms)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 24 oz golden chanterelles or a mix of cremini and oyster mushrooms, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 3 large shallots, minced
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth, plus pan drippings
  1. Let turkey stand at room temperature for one hour. Remove from packaging, drain brine, if applicable, and dry with paper towels.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small bowl, beat the butter with the garlic, chopped thyme and chopped sage and season with salt and pepper. (See note below if roasting the turkey upside-down.)
  3. Season the turkey inside and out with salt and pepper. Rub two-thirds of the herb butter under the skin and under the neck flap. Place the remaining butter in the cavity along with the thyme and sage sprigs. Tuck the wing tips under the bird and tie the legs together with kitchen string (optional).
  4. Tuck one half of the apple, rounded side out, under the neck flap, place the other half in the main cavity. Fold the neck skin under the body and secure with a skewer.
  5. Put the onion, carrot and celery in a large roasting pan. Set the turkey in the pan and add the neck (and gizzard).
  6. Rub the turkey all over with olive oil.
  7. Roast the turkey in the lower third of the oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° and continue to roast, basting occasionally, for 2 to 3 hours longer, until an instant-read thermometer registers 165° when inserted in an inner thigh (I have had great success using the temperature probe that works through the oven.).
  9. Transfer the turkey to a carving board and let rest in a warm place for at least 25 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  10. In a small bowl, cover the porcini with 1/4 cup of hot water. Let stand until softened, about 10 minutes.
  11. In a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the chanterelle mushrooms and the shallots and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden brown and tender, about 8 minutes.
  12. Lift the porcini from the soaking liquid and add to the skillet. Cover and remove the skillet from the heat.
  13. Set a coarse strainer over a medium bowl. Pour in the juices and vegetables from the roasting pan and press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Skim the fat off of the juices and reserve 2 tablespoons. (I use a fat separator.)
  14. In a large saucepan, stir the reserved fat with the flour until smooth; cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
  15. Gradually whisk in the strained juices and the stock and bring to a simmer, whisking.
  16. Add to the mushroom mixture and simmer over low heat, whisking often, until no floury taste remains, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  17. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.

2016 UPDATE:

Note: To modify this recipe and cook the turkey upside-down:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection. Place the roasting pan on a rimmed cookie sheet.
  2. Prepare the turkey and pan as described above.
  3. Slice the ciabatta horizontally and butter the cut sides of the bread generously.
  4. Set a V-shaped wire rack in the roasting pan and place the slices of bread side-by-side lengthwise, buttered-sides up on the rack.
  5. Place the turkey breast-side down, so it rests on the bread (not directly on the rack). Place in oven and roast 60 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and, using silicone oven mitts, carefully flip the turkey breast-side up.
  7. Add the stock into the pan. Season the skin with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
  8. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, preferably on convection.
  9. Continue to cook, basting occasionally with pan juices, until the thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees.
  10. Let rest one hour before carving.

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