8 to 10 servings

How to Make It

Step 1

Remove giblets and neck from turkey; place in a large saucepan, adding bay leaf, 1 celery rib, and half the onion. Add 6 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 1 hour. Pour through a strainer. (You should yield 3 cups; add water if necessary to measure 3 cups.) Set aside.

Step 2

Rinse turkey with cold water. Drain; pat dry. Sprinkle body cavity with salt and pepper; place remaining celery rib and onion inside cavity. Close cavity; tie ends of legs together with heavy string. Tuck wingtips under bird. Place turkey in a lightly greased roasting pan, breast side up. Rub turkey all over with 2 tablespoons softened butter; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Step 3

Roast, uncovered, at 325° until a meat thermometer reaches 180° in the thigh (about 3 hours), basting after 1 and 2 hours with remaining softened butter; turn turkey halfway through roasting. Baste frequently during last 45 minutes of cooking. Add 1 cup reserved turkey broth to roasting pan during last half hour of roasting. If turkey starts to brown too much, cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Step 4

Let turkey rest in pan 5 minutes; carefully remove to a serving platter or carving board. Cover with foil, and let rest up to 45 minutes.

Step 5

Meanwhile, prepare gravy. Skim excess fat from pan drippings, if desired. Working over medium heat on the stovetop, whisk flour into pan drippings until smooth. Whisking constantly, gradually add remaining 2 cups turkey broth; simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until gravy is thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Serve gravy with turkey. Garnish turkey, if desired.

Christmas with Southern Living 2004

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