A citrus brine guarantees Carrie Morey's bird is tender and moist.
Recipes adapted from Callie's Biscuits & Southern Traditions by Carrie Morey. Copyright 2013 by Carrie Morey. Reprinted by permission of Atria Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster
Juice of 1 lemon
fresh sage leaves
Freshly ground pepper
Gravy (recipe follows)
Freshly ground pepper
fresh thyme leaves
- In a stockpot large enough to hold the turkey, over high heat, bring 2 cups water, lemon slices, salt, sugar, and peppercorns to a boil. Remove pot from heat and add 2 gallons ice water and lemon juice. Submerge the turkey, cover the pot, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
- Remove the brined turkey and rinse under cold water. Transfer turkey to a wire rack, with paper towels placed underneath, to drain; dry the skin with paper towels.
- Run your fingers under the turkey's breast and thigh skin to loosen. Work butter slices and sage leaves under the skin. Dry the skin again with paper towels, then rub with oil.
- Place carrots, celery, and onions in a shallow roasting pan; place turkey in the center. Sprinkle with pepper. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 2 hours before cooking.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. If any liquid has collected in the roasting pan, remove it with a baster. Tuck the turkey wings underneath the bird and tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Place the turkey in the oven. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees F. Roast for 1 hour, then baste with pan juices. (If breast is browning too quickly, cover with foil.) Rotate the pan and continue to roast, basting turkey every 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer reaches 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, 21/2 to 3 more hours.
- Transfer turkey to a cutting board and let rest 30 minutes before carving. Reserve drippings for gravy, if desired.
- To make the gravy: Add flour to drippings in roasting pan and cook over medium heat, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the mixture turns a rich brown, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Slowly add chicken broth and stir until gravy thickens, adding more broth if needed. Add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Stir in butter until it melts. Add fresh thyme leaves, if desired.