Whitesburg KY
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The traditional turkey

The traditional Thanksgiving centerpiece is seen here.

The traditional Thanksgiving centerpiece is seen here.

Here it is, the traditional Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Traditional Roast Turkey With Pan Gravy

1 (14-pound) fresh or frozen (thawed) turkey

1 medium onion, cut into 1- inch chunks

2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch chunks

1/2 bunches fresh parsley 1 bunch fresh sage 1 bunch fresh thyme

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Pan Gravy

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove neck from inside turkey; reserve for making pan gravy. Discard giblets and liver or save for another use. Rinse turkey with cold running water; pat dry with paper towels.

2. Place onion, celery, parsley and 1/2 bunch each of sage and thyme (wrap and refrigerate remaining herbs to garnish platter) inside body and neck cavities of turkey. Fasten neck skin to back with 1 or 2 skewers. With turkey breast-side up, fold wings under back of turkey so they stay in place. If drumsticks are not held by band of skin or stuffing clamp, tie legs together with string.

3. Place turkey, breast-side up, on small rack in large (17-inch by 11 1/2-inch) roasting pan. Rub turkey all over with salt and pepper. Insert meat thermometer into thickest part of thigh next to body, being careful that pointed end of thermometer does not touch bone. Cover turkey with a loose tent of foil, letting top of thermometer poke through foil. Roast turkey about 3 3/4 hours; start checking for doneness during last hour of roasting.

4. While turkey is roasting, prepare broth to use in Pan Gravy.

5. To brown turkey, remove foil during last 1 1/4 hours of roasting time; baste with pan drippings occasionally if you like. Turkey is done when thigh temperature on meat thermometer reaches 175 F to 180 F and breast temperature reaches 165 F. (Internal temperature of turkey will rise 5 degrees to 10 degrees F upon standing.)

6. When turkey is done, place on large platter; cover with foil to keep warm. Complete gravy.

7. To serve, garnish platter with remaining herbs. Pass gravy to spoon over turkey. Remove skin from turkey before eating, if you like.

Pan Gravy

1 medium onion, cut in half

1 stalk celery, cut into large chunks

1 bay leaf 4 sprigs parsley Turkey neck

4 cups water

1. To make the broth: In 3- quart saucepan, place onion, celery, bay leaf, parsley sprigs, turkey neck and water; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer 45 minutes.

2. Strain broth into large bowl; set aside. Pull meat from neck; discard bones and vegetables. Chop neck meat. If not using right away, cover and refrigerate broth and meat separately up to 2 days.

3. To make gravy: Remove rack from roasting pan and strain drippings from roasting pan into 8-cup liquid measuring cup or medium bowl. Let stand 1 minute or until fat separates from drippings. Spoon 2 tablespoons fat from drippings into 3-quart saucepan; skim and discard any remaining fat from drippings.

4. Add 1 cup broth to roasting pan. Place pan over mediumhigh heat and stir until browned bits are loosened and liquid boils; boil 1 minute. Strain liquid into drippings in measuring cup. Add enough water to meat-juice mixture in cup to equal 3 1/2 cups total.

5. Stir 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt into fat in saucepan; cook over medium heat until flour turns golden brown, stirring. Gradually stir in drippings mixture and cook until gravy boils and thickens slightly, stirring occasionally. Stir in reserved meat; heat through. Pour gravy into gravy boat or serving bowl. Makes 12 servings.

TIPS: If using a frozen turkey, make sure it is completely thawed, especially inside the cavity. The rule of thumb for thawing turkey in the refrigerator is 24 hours per 5 pounds.

Cooking the stuffing separately yields a juicier bird, but if you want to stuff your turkey, to be safe, make sure that the stuffing temperature reaches 165 F on a meat thermometer. And you will need to roast the turkey about 30 minutes longer than the roasting time indicated.

©2008 Hearst Communications

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