I was planning on re-doing this video, but alas, I ran out of time and with Thanksgiving fast approaching, I thought it prudent to just pull it from the archives and republish it. Cooking a Thanksgiving turkey in front of a camera is a hefty task, as you either need to prepare for a LONG filming day or roast two turkeys. Either option would just cost me too much time and effort at this point, so I give you my video from 2021.
The reason, mainly, I wanted to re make the whole video is because my German Shepherd died in 2022 of a brain tumor. It’s been too painful for me to watch the video up until now, but it is a good instructional video on how I make this turkey. He was a wonderful dog, gone too soon.
Onward. This turkey is magically aromatic and in my opinion, the ONLY way to make such a huge bird actually delectable. The aromatic vegetables, herbs, butter and white wine are essential in creating a truly delicious dish.
The presentation is one I developed over the years – for no other reason than to make my holiday table look like something from The Christmas Carol. In particular, the scene of the ghost of Christmas present where he says to the gobsmacked Ebenezer; “Come in, and know me better, man!”. To know the present is an underrated task, as most of us are dwelling in regrets of the past or anxieties of the future. “Knowing the present” is a particular skill, and in my home, a daily quest.
So, I give you, my presently delectable turkey recipe, and a recycled video – taken before I had “better” cameras. A video where I can see how far I’ve come as a presenter and editor, with a dog that loved my family more than anything and did so much to protect us.
French Style Thanksgiving Turkey (with gravy)
- 12-16 pound turkey defrosted
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2-3 stalks celery
- bunch parsley
- bunch sage
- bunch rosemary
- bunch thyme
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 bottle white wine (use 1/2 bottle initially and use the remainder to add juices if you need to while roasting)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 100% cotton string, soaked in water
- collection of pretty fruits and nuts for presentation
- big greens like collards or kale for presentation
- parsley for presentation
- The drippings from the turkey, strained to remove all cooking bits. Separate the fat from the stock (see video). The stock should equal 2 cups – if it does not, add enough chicken broth to make 2 cups. The fat should equal 1/4 cup. If it does not, add enough melted butter to make 1/4 cup.
- 1/3 cup flour
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup milk optional
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, F. After removing the giblets and neck, and drying the skin with paper towels, place the turkey in a roasting pan. A roasting rack is optional, but I find that when I omit the roasting rack, I have many more juices to work with when it comes to making the gravy – so omit the roasting pan is what I do.
- Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the turkey, stuff the turkey with the celery, carrots and onion. Make a "bouquet" of the fresh herbs by tying them with a moistened cotton string. Stuff the herbs into the cavity of the turkey. Tie the legs of the turkey with another piece of wet cotton string.
- Slather the butter over the breast and legs of the turkey. Pour 1/2 the bottle of white wine, and most of the chicken broth into the pan.
- Cover with a big tent of two pieces of foil and loosely cover the turkey. Roast at 400 degrees, F for one hour, then turn heat down the 350 degrees F and roast until internal temperature of the turkey is 180 degrees F. Baste at least every 30 minutes.
- Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes before removing from pan. I use this time to prep my platter and fruits for the presentation.
- In a heavy skillet on medium high heat, sizzle the fat and add the flour. Stir rapidly until you get a paste mixture about the consistency of toothpaste. This is called a roux. Add the stock, about 1/4 at a time and stir in between each addition. Your mixture will be lumpy, then smooth, then thick. Then you add more liquid. Do not stop stirring! You may use a whisk at the end to break up any clumps.
- Once the gravy is velvety and simmering, turn the heat off and add milk if you would like a creamier gravy.Ladle gravy into a gravy boat.
- Festoon your turkey with all the fruits and nuts you want. Stuff fresh sage or parsley into the cavity of the turkey.Serve with flair.Bon Appetit!