Cider-Glazed Turkey with Lager Gravy

Cider-Glazed Turkey with Lager Gravy 5700

Happy Sunday!! I’m so excited for today’s post! As my regulars know, I’ve been (mostly) focusing the month of November on getting everyone ready for Thanksgiving with plenty of ideas for your big Turkey Day. Thus far, I’ve blogged some starters and sides; don’t worry, desserts are coming your way soon.

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But for today, I’m so thrilled to be bringing you a whole roast turkey, complete with luscious, rich gravy! After some drama (I was previously unaware of how difficult it is to locate a whole turkey in October, but word of advice – it is! Wait until November.), I ended up roasting this huge bird alongside this wonderful side dish for a lovely, beautiful Wednesday evening dinner. (See, this is how you keep hump day from being mundane, haha!)

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Lager Gravy for Thanksgiving Turkey 5712

So, let’s talk turkey, shall we? This particular bird is probably going in my Best Turkey I’ve Ever Tasted, Period file. I think it was the cheesecloth. The melted-butter-and-apple-cider-soaked cheesecloth that draped over the entire breast and legs of the turkey. With a few sage leaves thrown in for good measure. It seriously kept the bird SO moist. No hint whatsoever of the dreaded dry breast meat.

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Then there was the gravy. I have to confess, I’ve never really taken my time with Thanksgiving turkey gravy. Some pan drippings, flour, turkey or chicken stock, maybe a splash of cream and some herbs, and that’s pretty much it. But this gravy…. For this one, I took my time and gave it lots of special attention. I used the neck and the giblets, and let this thing simmer almost the entire time the turkey was roasting.

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Cider-glazed turkey with Lager gravy 5778

And, the rewards were great. This is one of the most flavorful gravies you will taste. Beautifully smooth and lush and silky. And now, this will sound like a strong statement, but: if you serve this turkey to your guests, they will still be talking about it when you see them again for Christmas. In fact, you might not want to host Christmas dinner, because I’m honestly not sure what you could make that could live up to the reputation you’re going to achieve when you serve this amazing turkey at Thanksgiving. Matt declared it the best turkey he’s ever tasted, and I’m betting at least one person in your family will as well. I hope you all will enjoy this one as much as we did.

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{One Year Ago: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting}
{Two Years Ago: Pumpkin Pecan Cake with Bourbon Brown Sugar Glaze, Chocolate Meringue Pie}

Source: slightly adapted from Food and Wine Magazine, November 2011; recipe submitted by Michael Symon


1 (12-14 lb.) whole turkey, neck and giblets reserved
2 tbs kosher salt
1 unpeeled head of garlic, halved crosswise
1 jalapeno, halved
1 Granny Smith apple, quartered
12 sage leaves
1/3 cup cloudy organic apple cider
1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter

2 tbs olive oil
Reserved turkey neck and giblets
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cloudy, organic apple cider
1 (12 oz.) bottle of lager
1 fresh bay leaf

For the TURKEY: season the turkey inside and out with the kosher salt. Set on a large plate and cover the whole thing with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Uncover the turkey and let it return to room temperature, about 20-30 minutes. Stuff the cavity with the garlic, jalapeno, apple and 6 of the sage leaves. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. If the wings are flopping about, tie a large circle around the top of the turkey breast so they lay flat and tight against the breast.
Transfer the turkey to a large roasting pan. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
In a small saucepan, combine the cider with the butter and the remaining 6 sage leaves and cook over low heat until the butter has melted and the sage is fragrant, about 4 minutes. Dampen a 32-by-20-inch piece of cheesecloth* with water and squeeze dry. Immerse the cheesecloth in the apple cider-butter mixture until the liquid is absorbed. Drape the soaked cheesecloth over the turkey breast and legs.
*Please don’t get out your ruler for this step. Just make sure you have enough cheesecloth to cover the turkey breast and legs. It’s fine to use 2 sheets.
Roast the turkey for 30 minutes. Add 2 cups of water to the roasting pan and continue to roast for about 2 hours longer, rotating the pan a few times, until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the inner thigh reads 165 F. It may take more or less time than stated.
Meanwhile, make the GRAVY: in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the turkey neck and giblets, except for the liver, and season with salt and pepper. Reserve the liver. Cook over moderate heat, turning a few times, until nicely browned, about 12 minutes. Remove the turkey parts to a plate and reserve.
Off the heat, stir the flour into the fat in the saucepan to make a paste. Gradually whisk in the cider until smooth, then whisk in the lager. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking continuously until thickened. Return the browned turkey parts to the saucepan and add the bay leaf. Cover and cook over low heat, whisking occasionally, until the gravy is flavorful, about 1 ½ hours. Discard the turkey parts and the bay leaf.
When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and carefully peel away the cheesecloth and discard. Transfer the turkey to a rimmed cutting board and let rest for 30 minutes. Pour the pan juices into a glass measuring cup and skim off the fat. Add the pan juices to the gravy and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Season the reserved liver with salt and pepper, add to the gravy and simmer until pink in the center, about 5 minutes. Remove the liver and cut into small chunks.
In a blender, puree the liver with about 1 cup of the gravy. Whisk the liver puree into the gravy and season with salt and pepper to taste. Rewarm the gravy if necessary. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.

13 responses to “Cider-Glazed Turkey with Lager Gravy

  1. She’s not exaggerating; it really is _that_ good…both in flavor and in texture.

  2. Your turkey looks PERFECT! I love the cider idea 🙂 Also your photos are gorgeous!

  3. You had me at turkey but that gravy took this to a whole new level of YUM!

  4. What a gorgeous looking bird! Perfectly roasted and golden. That gravy looks like I could just eat it with a spoon. Yum!!

  5. Beer adds such great flavor to foods – lager gravy sounds amazing!

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  8. Made this exactly as written. Turned out perfect! I was so proud of this turkey!

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