Herbed butter under the skin creates a luscious bird, while sherry and cream enrich the gravy. Start with a well-heated oven, and give the turkey 12 minutes of cooking for each pound.
For the turkey:
1 (12- to 15-pound) fresh turkey
1 stick unsalted butter (1/4 cup), at room temperature
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped sage leaves
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped winter savory, marjoram, or rosemary
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Italian parsley
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small white onion, peeled and quartered
1celery stalk, halved crosswise
2 clovesgarlic, peeled
For the gravy:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, room temperature
1 tablespoonrosemary leaves, savory, or marjoram
6 leaves sage, roughly torn
1 tablespoonthyme leaves
20 leavesItalian parsley
3/4 cupdry sherry
1/4 cupheavy cream, room temperature
For the turkey:
Heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the lower third. Remove turkey’s giblets and neck, then rinse out the cavity and pat dry with paper towels.
In a small bowl, mix butter and herbs until well combined. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Loosen skin on turkey’s breast and distribute butter evenly under it. Season turkey’s cavity with salt and pepper and put onion, celery, lemon, and garlic inside.
Place turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan and place in the oven. Roast turkey for 30 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F. Baste bird with pan drippings every 45 minutes. Continue to roast until the internal temperature of inner thigh reaches 155°F. Cover with aluminum foil if turkey becomes too brown.
Remove turkey from the oven and let it rest uncovered at least 30 minutes before carving.
For the gravy:
While turkey rests, prepare gravy. Make a blond roux by melting butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Immediately add flour and whisk continuously until well combined. Cook until flour loses its raw flavor and turns golden, about 3 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth until mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer, then reduce temperature to low heat.
Transfer turkey to a platter and pour off excess fat from the roasting pan, reserving 1 tablespoon in pan. Place the pan on the stovetop over medium heat. When pan juices are hot, add herbs and fry, about 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with sherry and scrape up browned bits with a flat spatula.
Increase heat for roux mixture to medium and simmer. Add sherry mixture and whisk to combine. Whisk in heavy cream and simmer to thicken slightly, about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Note: For poultry, measure the temperature on the inside of the thigh and make sure the thermometer is not touching the bone.
Beverage pairing:Amity Gamay Noir, Oregon. Gamay, the grape of Beaujolais, makes a lovely, light-bodied, perky red wine that’s punchy with acidity. This version from Oregon has all that, but offers more complexity and flavor than most. It won’t overshadow the turkey, but will act as a pleasing and refreshing foil. Serve slightly chilled.