Steve's Turkey and Gravy

OVERVIEW: The bottom of the roasting pan underneath the turkey is filled with vegetables, giblets and any other turkey scraps. As the turkey cooks, the vegetables and meat scraps roast along with the turkey drippings. This forms the basis for the gravy. When the turkey has finished roasting, the vegetables and meat scraps are removed and boiled in reduced chicken broth to create the gravy. The liquid is strained and then thickened with roué. One 30 lb turkey serves about 18 people.

DIRECTIONS: Remove the giblet bag and the neck from the turkey cavity. Remove the tail and trim (and save) excess skin from the front and back openings of the body cavity so that the convection oven air is able to flow through the body cavity. This allows the turkey to cook from the outside and inside simultaneously so much less cooking time is required and the turkey will be less dry. (Remember that every minute that the turkey is cooking it is losing moisture so reduced cooking time means a moister turkey.) Don't trim so much skin that the meat is exposed. Using a long thin knife, remove any meat or skin on the interior of the body cavity that would obstruct air flow. The goal is to maximize air flow through the body cavity.

Pour 16 cups (4 32 oz. boxes) of chicken broth into a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer while the turkey is cooking until the broth has reduced to about ⅓ of original volume. This will take several hours. Once the turkey has finished cooking, this liquid will be added to the roasted vegetables and meat scraps from the roasting pan to make the gravy.

Pour 4 cups of chicken broth (1 32 oz. box) and 4 cups of beef broth (1 32 oz. box) into a large flat pan and reduce until fairly thick. (*see note 1) Stir in 6 Tbs Steve’s Magic Paste. This liquid will be used to coat the vegetables and meat scraps that will roast along with the turkey.

Cut onion, carrots, celery and parsley into 1" pieces, and place in large roasting pan. Break up heads of garlic into individual cloves, smash each clove with the side of a large knife, remove peeling, and add to roasting pan. Cut up turkey giblets into small pieces. Using a heavy meat cleaver, chop the neck (through the bone) into 1" thick disks with a large cleaver and add to the vegetables and giblets in bottom of roasting pan. Add the concentrated chicken and beef broth and mix thoroughly. Place the roasting pan with the vegetables, giblets and neck in the oven set to convection broil (*see note 2) for 15 minutes.

Remove pan with the vegetables, giblets and neck, and place a roasting rack in the pan, moving the vegetables and giblets towards the periphery of the pan as needed so that they will not be in direct contact with the turkey. Sprinkle entire surface of turkey inside and out liberally with Lawry's Seasoned Salt. Place turkey upside-down on a bed of crumpled up aluminum foil on the roasting rack in the pan. Use enough foil so that the rack will not make indentations in the meat. Place in oven.

After 10 minutes, baste with melted butter. When the skin becomes light brown, remove the bed of aluminum foil, turn the turkey right-side-up and baste again with butter. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat between the thigh and breast, lower the oven temperature to 350°F, and continue cooking and basting every hour until the skin turns golden brown. The skin on some parts of the turkey such as the wings and drum sticks will brown faster than other areas. As these areas reach the desired color, cover them with heavy duty aluminum foil and continue cooking. When all the skin has turned golden brown, cover the entire bird with aluminum foil and continue cooking until the meat reaches a temperature of 155° F. This should take 2 to 3 hours using the convection bake setting. Remove turkey from oven and cover with aluminum foil.

GRAVY: When the turkey is finished roasting, transfer the liquid, vegetables and turkey scraps from the roasting pan to a large pot. Add the reduced chicken broth. Skim off excess fat and set aside to make a rue. Boil vegetable and giblets and the reduced broth for 30 minutes. Place the broth and solids in a colander and allow the liquid to drain into a second pot while pressing with a large spoon to obtain as much liquid as possible. In a separate pan, sauté 6 Tbs of flour in enough of the skimmed fat to form a roué. Slowly add some of the liquid which has been boiling to the roué a little at a time, stirring well each time to eliminate lumps. Continue to add the liquid until the roué mixture is thin enough to be added back to the pot without clumping. If more thickness is needed, then make another batch of roué and repeat. Season gravy with fresh ground black pepper to taste.

*Note 1: When reducing liquid, start with a high heat and then turn down the heat as the liquid begins to thicken to avoid burning, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula so that the liquid does not stick to the pan. If your pan is not large enough to hold all the liquid, then reduce the liquid a little at a time, adding more liquid to the reduced liquid as the level decreases.

*Note 2: Always leave oven door slightly open while on any type of broil setting. If your oven does not have a convection broil setting then convection bake set to the highest temperature (with oven door closed) can be used.