Brining the bird takes a little extra time and planning, but it insures a moist and flavorful turkey every time.
1 recipe Brine
1 14-18 pound turkey, rinsed thoroughly, giblets, neck and tail piece removed and reserved
1 bay leaf
2 medium onions , chopped coarse
2 medium carrots , chopped coarse
2 medium ribs celery , chopped coarse
1 Tbsp unsalted butter , melted, plus extra for brushing and basting turkey
4 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 extra large egg, boiled and finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Place the turkey in large stockpot or clean bucket. Add one recipe of Brine (or 2 gallons water and 1 cup salt) and more cold water to cover. Refrigerate or set in very cool (40 degrees or less) spot for 8 hours.
2. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse both cavities and skin under cool running water for several minutes until all traces of salt are gone.
3. Meanwhile, discarding the liver, put giblets, neck, and tail piece, bay leaf, and one-third of the vegetables in a large saucepan. Add 6 cups water and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, skimming foam from surface as necessary. Simmer, uncovered, to make a flavorful broth, about 1 hour. Strain the broth, setting giblets, neck, and tail aside, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until ready to use. (You should have about 1 quart of broth.) Remove the meat from the neck and tail, cut giblets into medium dice, and refrigerate until ready to use.
4. Heat oven to 450°. Toss another third of the onions, carrots, and celery with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter and place in the body cavity. Bring the turkey legs together and perform simple truss. Using the center of a five foot length of cooking twine, tie the legs together at the ankles. Run the twine around the thighs and under the wings on both sides of the bird, pulling tightly. Keeping the twine pulled snug, tie a firm knot around the excess flesh at the neck of the bird. Snip off any excess twine.
5. Scatter the remaining vegetables in the roasting pan and pour 1 cup of the reserved broth over the vegetables. Set a rack in the roasting pan over the vegetables. Brush the entire back side of the turkey with melted butter, then place the turkey on the rack. Brush the entire breast side of the turkey with butter.
6. Place the turkey in the oven and reduce the temperature to 325°. Roast 3 hours, removing from the oven to baste every hour or so and adding small quantities of broth if the vegetables look dry. Begin checking the temperature of the meat.
7. Roast until skin has browned and internal temperature of legs and breast registers 165 degrees, about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Transfer the turkey to platter and let rest 20 to 30 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, melt the 4 Tbsp of butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Continue whisking and cooking for 2 minutes. Strain the pan drippings into the saucepan (discard solids). Return the roasting pan to the stove and place over two burners set on medium heat. Add the reserved broth to the roasting pan, and using wooden spoon, stir to loosen brown bits. Strain into the saucepan containing the pan drippings and add the reserved giblets and chopped egg. Simmer until the gravy thickens, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
9. Carve the turkey and serve the gravy passed separately.