It can be hard to find the perfect turkey recipe, especially if you’ve never cooked for Thanksgiving or if you’ve tried some recipes without ever being completely satisfied. Plus, cooking the poultry is usually not the easiest step to accomplish along the way, which is why the person in charge of it might feel a lot of pressure. But don’t worry, as this recipe will surely please all your guests and truly make honor to this year’s harvest with its sweet, gentle maple taste. After all, Thanksgiving is supposed to be a fun, comforting time, and the long weekend should be completely stress-free. The turkey can be served with its own gravy, which is especially rich and a great source of comfort as well.
Even though the actual recipe does not contain any instructions regarding the stuffing, you can add some if you wish. Simply prepare the stuffing a little bit ahead of time, and stuff the bird immediately before placing it in the oven to avoid any bacteria growing before it’s roasted. You could also use the said stuffing as dressing and cook it separately from the turkey, as stuffed birds are often harder to cook properly. A bread stuffing/dressing recipe, for example, could prove to be a particularly scrumptious addition to this warm meal.
Note: A fully thawed turkey is generally much easier to handle than a frozen one. If the bird spent some time in the freezer, it is possible to thaw it in the refrigerator. This method can be quite time-consuming, but it is much safer than doing it on the kitchen counter. For every five pounds of turkey, plan on about 24 hours of thawing in the fridge. This means a 15-pound turkey should take 3 days to fully thaw.
1. Preheat the oven at 325 °F (163 °C).
2. In a small saucepan, bring the dicer or juice and maple syrup to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes on stovetop, and remove from heat. Add the butter, thyme, sage, marjoram, salt and pepper, and stir. Transfer in a bowl, cover and refrigerate until set.
3. Carefully loosen the skin from turkey breast, and rub 1/2 cup of the maple mixture under it. Refrigerate remaining maple mixture. Skewer turkey openings, and tie the drumsticks together. Place in a roasting pan, cover with foil and bake for 2 hours.
4. Brush the top with 1/3 cup of the maple mixture. Bake uncovered for 1 to 1-1/2 hours longer, or until your thermometer reads 180°F. Baste occasionally with pan drippings, and cover loosely with foil if the skin browns too quickly.
5. Remove from the oven and place the turkey in a serving dish. Cover to keep warm and let stand for about 20 minutes before carving.
6. For the gravy, pour pan drippings into a 4-cup measuring cup. Skim to discard fat. Add chicken broth until the drippings reach 3 cups. Put the broth mixture in a large saucepan, and blend in the flour until smooth. Stir in any remaining maple mixture. Bring to a boil, and cook while stirring for about 2 minutes or until it thickens. Serve with the turkey.