thanksgiving turkey

This year, we were given a turkey from a local friend! How kind & generous, we thought! Until she delivered the turkey in a white canvas bag...ALIVE!!! Poor little turkey was tied up and docile in his bag. He spent the night in the bathroom (since it was late) and was taken to the butcher the next morning. A Muslim butcher makes the turkey kosher (qing zhen 清真/halal) and able to be shared with Muslim friends. The turkey came back with innards still intact, and a very long neck. I was glad they (at least) took the head & feet. I had to prepare the turkey a bit more than normal, and it needed some work! I think he weighed about 6 kilos total. We baked him in our tiny oven, which was a tight fit - but it worked great!!

olive oil (enough to rub the entire turkey)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, peeled & crushed
1-2 lemons, sliced & squeezed
chicken broth/water

Preheat oven to 450°F. Clean your turkey WELL. Rub entire turkey with olive oil. Stuff cavity with assortment of onion, garlic, celery & lemon slices. Leave remaining things in the roasting pan. Tie drumsticks together if desired. Sprinkle with salt & seasonings. Fill pan with 1-2 cups of chicken broth. Cover with foil. Bake in oven for 2-3 hours @ 350°F on the bottom rack. Make sure the turkey comes to at least 170°F with a meat thermometer stuck in the fleshy part of the thigh. I chose to keep the turkey covered until the last 20 minutes, and flip the turkey over half way through the roasting. I like to think this kept the breasts more moist.

After the turkey is done, you can remove from the roasting pan, and allow to stand 30 minutes before you carve it. With all the juices you can make a delicious gravy!


Turkey gravy:
Pour pan juices through a sieve into a different bowl. You can skim off (and discard) the fat if you prefer. You can use your original roasting pan to make the gravy in, straddling across 2 burners. Melt some butter and stir in flour to make a roux - cook over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add turkey stock juices, whisking well to prevent lumps. Bring to a boil - and stir well. Season your gravy with salt & pepper - or add cider vinegar to taste.