Roasted Turkey in Parchment with Gravy

Martha offers a primer on turkey and shares her recipes for turkey 101, roasted turkey in parchment paper, braised turkey legs, and roasted rolled turkey breast with herbs, all sure to be year-round favorites.  

Ingredients

  • 1 14-pound turkey, neck and heart reserved for Turkey Stock (Recipe follows)
  • 10 cups favorite stuffing or Sausage Pear Stuffing (Recipe follows)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Turkey Gravy (Recipe follows)
  • Turkey Stock
    • Neck and heart from a 14-pound turkey, and/or 1 pound turkey wings
    • 10 cups cold water
    • 1 carrot, cut into 2 or 3 pieces
    • 1 onion, cut into 2 or 3 pieces
    • 1 stalk celery, cut into 2 or 3 pieces
    • Small handful of flat-leaf parsley sprigs and stems
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • Sausage Pear Stuffing
    • 1 loaf day-old rustic bread, dark, hard crusts removed and bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
    • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for baking dish
    • 1 1/2 large onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
    • 2 small leeks, trimmed, thinly sliced into half-moons, and rinsed well (about 3 cups)
    • 3 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
    • 1 large fennel bulb, chopped (about 2 cups)
    • 12 to 14 ounces firm-ripe Bosc or Anjou pears (about 3), chopped (about 3 cups)
    • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
    • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
    • 2 cups Turkey Stock
    • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    • 3/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • Turkey Gravy
    • Drippings from turkey
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 2 1/2 cups Turkey Stock
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

  1. Let turkey stand at room temperature 1 hour. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with rack in lower third. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Fill body cavity with 6 cups stuffing. Fill neck cavity with 1 ½ cups stuffing. Secure skin flaps with toothpicks or skewers. Spread 6 tablespoons butter over top of turkey, then season generously with salt and pepper. Tie drumsticks together with kitchen twine. Tuck wings under turkey.
  2. Place a 40-inch sheet of parchment on a work surface and spread with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Place turkey on top, with a short side of bird facing you. Gather ends, wrapping turkey. Fold overlapping ends of parchment over turkey and secure with staples. Place a 48-inch sheet of parchment on work surface, place turkey on top, and rotate 90 degrees. Fold short parchment sides over turkey and secure with staples. Rotate bird another 90 degrees and repeat process with another 40-inch sheet of parchment. Secure all paper flaps with staples.
  3. Place turkey in parchment on a flat (not V-shaped) rack set inside a roasting pan. Roast turkey 2 hours, 45 minutes. Remove from oven; cut open parchment with scissors. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. While holding drumsticks, slide parchment out from under turkey and discard. Add ½ cup water to roasting pan. Return turkey to oven. Continue to roast turkey until golden brown and a thermometer inserted in breast reads 165 degrees, about 45 minutes more. Transfer to a carving board and let rest at least 45 minutes and up to 1 hour before carving.
  4. Meanwhile, remove stuffing from both cavities; transfer to an 8-inch-square baking dish and bake until thermometer inserted in center of stuffing reads at least 165 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes. Using drippings in pan, make turkey gravy.
  5. Turkey Stock (makes about 5 cups)
    1. Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, skimming froth off top occasionally, until reduced by half, about 1 hour. Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard solids.
  6. Sausage Pear Stuffing (makes 14 cups)
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crisped but not golden, about 10 minutes. Let cool. In a 14-inch straight-sided skillet (or 2 large skillets), melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, leeks, celery, fennel, and pears; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables and pears are softened and start to turn golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in rosemary and sage.
    2. Meanwhile, cook sausage in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally and breaking into large crumbles, until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Stir into vegetable mixture, then transfer to a large bowl. Add bread cubes and toss well. Drizzle stock over mixture, add eggs and parsley, and toss to combine well. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Use 10 cups stuffing to fill bird; place remainder in a buttered 8-inch-square baking dish. After turkey is out of oven, bake at 350 degrees until heated through and top is browned, 40 to 45 minutes.
  7. Turkey Gravy (makes 2 ½ cups)
    1. Pour drippings from roasting pan into a fat separator and set aside. Place pan on 2 burners over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, pour in wine, scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon. Pour in defatted drippings (use only 2 tablespoons of those from dry-brined bird) and 2 cups stock; bring to a boil.
    2. Combine remaining 1/2 cup stock and cornstarch in a small jar, seal it, and shake to combine. Pour cornstarch mixture into boiling mixture in pan and boil until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl. Reheat when ready to serve. Before serving, season with salt and pepper.