Basting your heritage turkey with local maple syrup while roasting adds subtle sweet and smoky flavor.
For the Turkey:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 bunch fresh sage, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (12- to 14-pound) fresh or heritage turkey
1/2 cup local maple syrup
2 tablespoons hot water
For the Pan Gravy:
1 medium onion, halved
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs parsley
4 cups water
1/4 cup all purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Remove the top rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
2. In a bowl, mix together the softened butter and sage until the sage is well incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Rinse the bird inside and out under cold running water; pat dry with absorbent towels.
4. Gently lift the skin from the turkey breast and massage the seasoned butter along the breast and leg meat.
5. Truss the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wing tips back under the shoulders of the bird.
6. Place the turkey, breast-side up on a wire rack in a large, shallow roasting pan. Place in the oven.
7. In a bowl, stir together the maple syrup and hot water to use for basting the turkey.
8. Roast the turkey, basting the bird with the maple syrup mixture approximately every 30 minutes. Estimate about 15 minutes per pound for roasting; about 3 1/2 hours total for a 14-pound bird.
9. Once the turkey has reached a nice golden brown color, cover lightly with a piece of aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.
10. Cook until an instant read thermometer inserted into the meatiest part of the thigh reaches 180 degrees F. The thigh juices should run clear when pricked with the thermometer or a paring knife.
11. Transfer the turkey to a platter and let rest for about 15-20 minutes before carving.
12. To make the pan gravy: First make the broth. Place all of the ingredients except for the flour and salt in a 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.
13. Strain the broth and reserve.
14. Remove the rack from the roasting pan and strain into a bowl. Let stand until the fat separates. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the fat from the drippings into a 3-quart saucepan. Skim the fat from the drippings and discard.
15. Add 1 cup of the broth to the roasting pan and place over medium heat. Stir until the liquid boils and boil for 1 minute. Strain into a medium-sized bowl. Add just enough water to the mixture to equal 3 1/2 cups total.
16. Stir the flour and salt into the fat in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the flour turns golden brown while stirring. Gradually stir in the drippings mixture and cook until the gravy boils and thickens slightly. Reserve warm for serving.
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