Emeril: Basic Turkey With Giblet Gravy

Nov. 19, 2004 -- -- Looking for the perfect turkey recipe for the Holiday Season? Check out Emeril's Big Bird With Giblet Gravy recipe.

Note: If you purchase a frozen turkey, you must defrost it in the refrigerator, and it can take several days to completely defrost, depending on the size of your bird. Make sure you read the instructions on the turkey packaging so that you allow yourself enough time before turkey day! Also, you should never try to defrost a turkey on your kitchen counter or in the kitchen sink -- this promotes the growth of harmful bacteria.

• One 10- to 12-pound turkey, defrosted if frozen, giblets, neck, and livers reserved for the gravy

• 2 1/2 teaspoons salt

• 1 teaspoon black pepper

• 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

• 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped

• 1 rib celery, coarsely chopped

• 1 orange, halved

• 5 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves)

• 1 bay leaf

• 1 teaspoon Emeril's Original Essence, recipe follows

• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

• 1/2 cup chicken stock

• 1/2 cup apple cider

• Giblet Gravy, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and fit a roasting rack inside of a roasting pan.

Rinse the turkey well inside and out with cold running water. Pat dry inside and out with paper towels and transfer the turkey to the prepared roasting pan.

Season the inside of the turkey with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper. Stuff the cavity of the turkey with the onion, carrot, celery, orange halves, thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Using kitchen twine, tie the ends of the turkey's legs together as if they were trying to cross their legs. Season the outside of the turkey evenly with remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of Essence (recipe below). Rub the butter evenly over the entire turkey. Transfer the turkey to the prepared roasting pan and place in the oven.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and carefully remove the turkey from the oven. Combine the chicken stock and the apple cider, and using a turkey baster, baste the top of the turkey evenly with 1/3 of the chicken-apple liquid. Return the turkey to the oven and cook for an additional 1 3/4 to 2 hours, basting twice more during this cooking time with the remaining chicken-apple liquid.

When done, the turkey should be a nice golden brown color, and the juices should run clear when you insert the tip of a knife at the joint of the leg and thigh. An instant read thermometer inserted into the joint of the leg and thigh, without touching a bone should register 165 degrees when the turkey is cooked through. If the turkey begins to look too browned before being completely cooked through, cover the top loosely with aluminum foil until it is done.

Remove the turkey from the roasting pan and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Reserve any juices left in the roasting pan for the gravy.

Emeril's Essence

• 5 tablespoons sweet paprika

• 1/4 cup salt

• 1/4 cup garlic powder

• 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

• 2 tablspoons onion powder

• 2 tablespoons cayenne

• 2 tablespoons dried oregano

• 2 tablespoons dried thyme

Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and blend well. Store in an airtight container in your spice cabinet for up to 3 months.

Giblet Gravy

• 1 tablespoon butter

• 2 teaspoons olive oil

• Giblets, liver, and neck from 1 turkey

• 1 cup diced onions

• 1/3 cup minced celery

• 1/3 cup peeled and minced carrots

• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

• 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour

• 1/4 cup dry white wine

• 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth

• 1 sprig fresh thyme

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium pot, melt the butter and the heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the giblets, liver, and turkey neck, and cook, stirring until brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic, and saute an additional 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine, stirring to incorporate any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock, thyme sprig, and any reserved juices from the bottom of the roasting pan, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Strain. Adjust seasonings with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve warm with Emeril's Big Bird. Makes about 3 cups