Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bon Appétit: Tom Colicchio's Herb-Butter Turkey


This year I decided to do something new with my turkey.  I saw a delicious-looking recipe that involved a lot of butter and a lot of herbs.  Didn't sound like it could possibly go wrong.  That much butter is never wrong.  And it certainly wasn't.  The turkey was incredibly moist and had a wonderful flavor.  It does take quite a bit of coddling, but I think in this case it ends up being worth it.

Tom Colicchio's Herb-Butter Turkey
Adapted from Bon Appétit magazine, November 2005

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature, divided
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme plus 15 fresh thyme sprigs
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon plus 5 large fresh tarragon sprigs
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary plus 5 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage plus 5 fresh sage sprigs
1 14- to 16-pound turkey
4 cups chicken broth
¼ cup all-purpose flour

Mix ½ cup butter and all minced herbs in small bowl; season herb butter with salt and pepper. Transfer 2 generous tablespoons to another small bowl and reserve for gravy; let stand at room temperature.

Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 425°F. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry. Starting at neck end, slide hand between skin and breast meat to loosen skin. Rub 4 tablespoons herb butter over breast meat under skin. Place turkey on rack set in large roasting pan. Sprinkle main cavity generously with salt and pepper. Place 4 tablespoons plain butter and all fresh herb sprigs in main cavity. Tuck wing tips under. Tie legs together loosely. Rub remaining herb butter over outside of turkey. Sprinkle turkey generously with salt and pepper.

Place turkey in oven and roast 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Roast turkey 30 minutes; pour 1 cup broth over and add 1 tablespoon plain butter to roasting pan. Roast turkey 30 minutes; baste with pan juices, then pour 1 cup broth over and add 1 tablespoon butter to pan. Cover turkey loosely with foil. Roast turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, basting with pan juices and adding 1 cup broth and 1 tablespoon butter to pan every 45 minutes, about 1 hour 45 minutes longer. Transfer turkey to platter; let stand 30 minutes (internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees).

Strain pan juices into bowl. Melt reserved 2 tablespoons herb butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat; add flour and whisk constantly until roux is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Gradually add pan juices; increase heat and whisk constantly until gravy thickens, boils, and is smooth. Reduce heat to medium; boil gently until gravy is reduced to 4½ cups, whisking often, about 10 minutes. Season gravy with salt and pepper.

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