By Dan Olson, chef/owner, Railtown Catering
We use a tenderizing brine of honey, lemon, herbs, garlic, salt and spices for maximum moisture retention and flavour.
Organic Tom Turkey (15-lb)
Kosher salt (4 cups, plus more to taste)
Honey (1 cup)
Whole black peppercorn (¼ cup)
Lemons (5, halved)
Bay leaves (2)
Garlic (2 heads, halved and smashed)
Parsley (1 bunch)
Sage (1 bunch)
Thyme (1 bunch)
Clarified butter for brushing (¼ cup)
Carrots (2, quartered)
Small leek (1, halved)
Small yellow onion (1, halved)
Turkey stock (8 cups)
Flour (1 cup)
For the brine:
1. In a large stockpot, boil salt, honey, lemons, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic heads, parsley, thyme in 8 liters of water.
2. Reserve the neck bones and giblets from the turkey. Let brine cool, add the turkey, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
To roast the turkey:
1. Heat the oven to 425°F.
2. Remove the bird from the brine and pat dry. Brush with clarified butter and season with salt and pepper.
3. Add fresh sage inside the cavity.
4. Transfer to a roasting pan fitted with a rack.
5. Add the reserved giblets, the neck bone, carrots, leek, garlic and onion to the bottom of the pan.
6. Roast until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.
7. Turn the oven down to 275°F and continue cooking until a thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the breast reads 165°F (about 2.5 hours).
8. Keep warm and let rest for 40 minutes before carving.
9. Reserve the turkey fat from the pan, return to oven and roast the vegetables until caramelized golden brown. Set pan aside.
To make the gravy:
1. Place pan with giblets, bones and vegetables over medium high heat.
2. Add turkey stock and cook, scraping up bottom bits from the pan. About 10 minutes, then strain the stock.
3. Cook reserved turkey fat and butter in a pot, sprinkle in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in reserved stock.
4. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until gravy is slightly thickened, about 5-7 minutes.