Basic Roast Turkey
1 (12- to 14-pound) turkey, thawed if frozen
8 sprig(s) fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, sage, or a combination, plus more for serving
3 medium onions, cut into wedges
2 tablespoon(s) olive oil or melted butter
2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 stalk(s) celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
3/4 cup(s) low-sodium chicken broth
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the giblets and neck from the cavity. Using paper towels, pat the turkey dry. Stuff the herbs and half the onions into the main cavity.
Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Tuck the wing tips underneath the body. Rub the turkey with the oil and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of salt.
Place the turkey neck, carrots, celery and the remaining onions in a large roasting pan. Place a roasting rack in the pan and put the turkey on top of it.
Roast the turkey until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. (Cover the bird loosely with foil if it browns too quickly, and add the broth to the pan if the vegetables begin to scorch.)
Carefully tilt the turkey to empty the juices from the cavity into the pan. Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover loosely with foil and let rest for at least 25 minutes.
Reserve the pan and its contents for gravy. Carve the turkey as desired. Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired.
Roasted Turkey Gravy
Roasting pan and its contents (turkey removed)
1 cup(s) dry white wine or hard cider
2 cup(s) (or up to 3 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup(s) (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
Remove the vegetables and neck from the roasting pan. Strain the pan drippings into a fat separator (or measuring cup). Let it stand for 5 minutes so the fat rises to the top. Leaving the fat behind (or spooning it off if not using a separator), pour the juices from the bottom into a large (4-cup) measuring cup.
Place the empty roasting pan across two stove burners on medium-high heat. Add the wine or cider and cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, for 1 minute.
Pour the wine mixture into the measuring cup with the pan juices and add enough low-sodium chicken broth to make 4 cups liquid total.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Sprinkle the flour over the top and cook, whisking, until deep brown in color, 4 to 5 minutes.
Gradually whisk in the 4 cups liquid; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 8 to 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Strain just before serving.
The Ultimate Mashed Potatoes
2 1/2 pound(s) russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-1/2-inch cubes
Freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup(s) half-and-half, heated
In a large pot, cover potatoes with salted water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 25 minutes.
Drain potatoes thoroughly in a colander and return to the pot. Add melted butter and, using a potato masher, mash potatoes to desired consistency. (For a smoother texture, pass potatoes through a ricer instead.)
Stir in half-and-half and 1 teaspoon salt to combine and until potatoes are creamy. Do not overstir or potatoes will become gluey. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot. To punch up this classic dish with savory add-ins, see above.
Chunky Cranberry Sauce
1 pound(s) fresh or frozen cranberries
1 1/2 cup(s) apple juice
1 cup(s) sugar
In a large saucepan, combine the cranberries with the apple juice and sugar. Simmer over low heat until the berries burst and the sauce is jammy, about 20 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a heatproof bowl, let cool, then refrigerate until chilled.
3/4 stick(s) butter
3 cup(s) (about 2 large onions) chopped onions
2 cup(s) (about 6 stalks) chopped celery
3/4 teaspoon(s) kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
7 cup(s) day-old cornbread, broken into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoon(s) minced fresh sage
2 cup(s) chicken or vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add onions, celery, salt, and pepper; cook until slightly softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, and add cornbread and sage. Mix well.
In the same skillet over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add cornbread mixture. Add broth and stir to moisten. Dot with remaining butter, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake until brown and crispy on top, 40 to 50 minutes.
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