Feast: Turkey & Gravy · GF (enough for about 10 people)
Brigitte Nguyen, host of The Cooking Channel’s From the Kitchens Of..., shared her recipes for the Heritage Turkey and Shallot Gravy that she prepared for our feast. Keep up with Brigitte’s adventures by visiting her site, Counting the Beans and Cooking the Books, and tuning in to her show on Sunday mornings!
Herb and Duck Fat Roasted Turkey
Heritage turkeys, free to roam around their pastures all day, tend to have less overall body fat than their Butterball counterparts. And, of course, they haven’t had saline solution injected into them at the factory. On top of that, their long, slender bodies and proportionally smaller breasts mean they cook fast. Under two hours for a 13 pound bird. So keep a close eye on your turkey, baste often, and when you can’t believe your turkey’s ready when you feel like you just put it in, believe it.
1 organic heritage turkey (10-14 lbs)
2 carrots, cut into 3” lengths
3 ribs celery, cut into 3” lengths
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
1 apple, cored and cut into eighths
Salt and pepper
Herbed duck fat, recipe follows
Rinse the turkey in cold water and pat dry. Season the inside and outside of the turkey liberally with salt and pepper. Place the carrots, celery, onion, and apple into the bottom of a roasting pan and place the turkey on top. Using your hands, ease the turkey skin away from the breast meat to create a pocket for the compound duck fat.
Transfer one cup of the compound duck fat into a disposable pastry bag and snip the end off, creating a small opening. Place the piping bag underneath the turkey skin and pipe generous amounts of duck fat onto the breast meat. Use your hands to help spread the duck fat evenly. Rub or brush the remaining quarter cup of herbed duck fat over the top of the turkey, making sure to cover the legs and wings, in addition to the breast.
Preheat the oven to 350º degrees. Roast the turkey, basting often, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 160º degrees.
Compound Duck Fat
A compound fat is one that has been mixed, or compounded, with seasonings and is a great way to add moisture and flavor to your turkey. Ann from Elmwood Stock Farm, where we purchased our Heritage turkey, especially recommended duck fat, which has a flavor of its own that greatly complements that of the Heritage turkey.
2 tbsp thyme
3 fresh bay leaves
6 fresh sage leaves
1 tbsp rosemary
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/4 cups cold duck fat
Combine the herbs, salt, pepper, and lemon into the bowl of a food processor and process until herbs are finely chopped. Add the duck fat and process to combine. Use immediately or store in refrigerator.
Fat and drippings from the roasting pan
3 large shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup flour or 3 Tbsp corn starch
2-3 cups chicken or turkey stock
Once the turkey has cooked, set it on a platter tented with tin foil, and transfer the pan juices and duck fat into a gravy separator. Place the roasting pan directly onto the stove top, over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of the fat back to the pan and cook the shallots until lightly browned and soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the flour and stir to form a roux. Add the pan drippings to the roux, setting aside any remaining duck fat for another use. Gradually add the stock to the pan until the desired thickness is reached and season with salt and pepper.
To see the rest of our meal, read Thanksgiving Heritage, which we’ve loaded with pictures, links and recipes.