Roast turkey garnished with herbs and autumn fruits.

Roast turkey garnished with herbs and autumn fruits. Credit: Doug Young

TURKEY

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

1 (10-to-12 pound) turkey

Kosher salt

Pepper

HOW TO:

1. The night before Thanksgiving, take the turkey out of its wrapping, dry it off, and, from a distance of about a foot, give it a nice sprinkling of kosher salt. Grind some pepper onto it then refrigerate it, uncovered.

2. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Take the turkey out of the refrigerator up to an hour before you plan to roast it. Place it on a rack in a sturdy sheet pan or shallow roasting pan (you want air to circulate around the bird as it cooks) and put it on the bottom shelf of the oven. If your oven is deep enough, put the legs facing the back of the oven.

3. Turn oven down to 300 degrees and roast for about 3 hours, until the temperature of the breast registers 150 to 160 degrees and the temperature of the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 to 170 degrees. Carefully remove turkey to a carving board so you can deglaze the drippings in the roasting pan. Let turkey rest for at least 45 minutes and up to 90 minutes before carving. Makes 8 servings plus leftovers.

SIMPLE GRAVY

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

Pan drippings (still in roasting pan)

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

2 1/2 cups dark poultry stock (recipe below)

Turkey giblets, trimmed of connective tissue and chopped (optional)

Salt and pepper

HOW TO:

1. After you remove the turkey from the roasting pan, pour off the fat in the pan and discard. Then add a cup of water and put the pan back into a 350-degree oven for a few minutes, until the drippings stuck to the bottom loosen enough to be scraped into the water with a wooden spoon. Pour into a heatproof vessel and set aside.

2. In a saucepan, combine butter and flour and stir, over medium heat, until you have a richly tanned roux, 5 to 8 minutes. Whisk in the liquid from the roasting pan and the poultry stock. Simmer over low heat for a few minutes until mixture slightly thickens. Add optional giblets. Taste for salt and pepper (it may not need any). Makes 3 1/2 cups.

DARK POULTRY STOCK

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

1 1/2 pounds turkey wings or thighs

1 1/2 pounds turkey gizzards and/or necks

2 pounds chicken thighs

4 quarts homemade chicken stock (recipe below; or canned, low-sodium broth)

HOW TO:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place all of the items on a sheet tray and roast in the oven until nicely browned, about 1 hour or so.

2. Remove them from the sheet tray and place them in a large pot. Add the cooled chicken stock and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook at a strong simmer until reduced to 2 1/2 quarts, 1 to 2 hours. Strain and reserve. Makes about 2 1/4 quarts.

CHICKEN STOCK

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

4 pounds chicken backs, necks, thighs and/or wings

HOW TO:

Combine chicken with 6 quarts of water in a large pot, bring to a boil and then reduce the flame so that the liquid maintains a strong simmer (just a bit less than a boil). Cook for 3 hours, until slightly reduced, and then strain the stock. Discard the bones and chill until needed. Makes about 4 quarts.

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