Free Recipe: French Style Thanksgiving Turkey with Gravy

A quintessential “feasting” turkey, this recipe and presentation will surely be a memorable centerpiece to gather ’round. The gravy is truly wonderful, as it makes the drippings of the turkey, butter, wine, aromatic vegetables and fresh herbs into a masterpiece in of itself. The attached video will give you thorough instructions. Expect 5-6 hours of cooking time for this size turkey.


12-16 pound turkey, defrosted

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2-3 stalks celery

2 carrots

1-2 onions

bunches of fresh parsley, sage, rosemary – thyme is optional

1/2 cup butter

1 bottle of 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

a collection of pretty fruits and nuts in shell for presentation

big greens like collard or kale for presentation

sage or parsley for presentation

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 pan, 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.

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Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes before removing from pan. I use this time to prep my platter and fruits for the presentation.

Gravy Recipe

Remove the turkey from the roasting pan and place on the platter lined with greens.


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

optional – 1/4 cup milk

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!

Thanks for being here,

Shannon Vavich

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