12 servings (serving size: 6 ounces turkey and 3 tablespoons gravy). This turkey is a pleasure to offer on your table. It's incredibly moist and flavorful! This recipe goes with Savory Herb Gravy.In past, I've cooked a 21 pound bird (about 5 hours was perfect) and a 23 pound bird (about 5.5. hours was perfect).
To prepare brine, combine first 8 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until sugar and salt dissolve. Cool completely.
Remove giblets and neck from turkey; reserve for Savory Herb Gravy. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Stuff body cavity with orange quarters. Place a turkey-sized oven bag inside a second bag to form a double thickness. Place bags in a large stockpot. Place turkey inside inner bag. Add cider mixture and ice. Secure bags with several twist ties. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
Remove turkey from bags, and discard brine, orange quarters, and bags. Rinse turkey with cold water; pat dry. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under turkey. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Place garlic, sage, thyme, parsley, onion, and broth in the bottom of roasting pan. Place roasting rack in pan. Arrange turkey, breast side down, on roasting rack. Brush turkey back with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 350º.
Remove turkey from oven. Carefully turn turkey over (breast side up) using tongs. Brush turkey breast with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 350º for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into meaty part of thigh registers 170º (make sure not to touch bone). (Shield the turkey with foil if it browns too quickly.) Remove turkey from oven; let stand 20 minutes. Reserve pan drippings for Savory Herb Gravy. Discard skin before serving; serve with gravy.
Making Gravy - Step 1
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add turkey neck and giblets; cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Add water and next 7 ingredients (through bay leaf); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is reduced to about 2 1/2 cups (about 1 hour). Strain through a colander over a bowl, reserving cooking liquid and turkey neck. Discard remaining solids. Chill cooking liquid completely. Skim fat from surface, and discard. Remove meat from neck; finely chop meat. Discard neck bone. Add neck meat to cooking liquid.
Strain the reserved turkey drippings through a colander over a shallow bowl; discard solids. Place strained drippings in freezer for 20 minutes. Skim fat from surface; discard.
Place flour in a medium saucepan; add 1/4 cup cooking liquid, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add remaining cooking liquid, turkey drippings, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add Kitchen Bouquet for added flavor if needed.