Slow-Roast Turkey with 40 Cloves of Garlic and White Wine Pan Gravy
IngredientsSeasoning the Turkey (do a day ahead, if possible):
- 4 to 5 heads of garlic (yes, that's right, "heads")
- 1/2 medium onion
- A generous 1/2 teaspoon each whole allspice and black peppercorns, ground very fine, or 3/4 teaspoon of each spice, pre-ground
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1/3 cup tight-packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 generous teaspoon dried basil
- A generous pinch hot red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 8 large garlic cloves (from the garlic above)
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon, or more to taste
- 1/3 cup good tasting extra virgin olive oil
- 2 thick slices of bacon
- 12 to 20 pound turkey (see Cook to Cook), giblets, neck and wing tips saved for the gravy
- One recipe White Wine Pan Gravy
- Coarse salt
- About 1 bottle dry white wine (sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio)
- 3 stalks celery with leaves
- 2 medium onions, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
- 2 large carrots, cut in half lengthwise
- 5-6 springs of pine or
- 2 large bunches of Italian parsley or
- 2 bundles of fresh thyme
- 1. Up to a day ahead, prep the garlic. Don't break off the cloves, just set the heads, root down, on a work surface and give each head a whack with the bottom of a sturdy saucepan. You want to break up the head and partially crush the cloves so you can slip off their skins. Slip them off. Bring medium size sauce pan of water to a boil, boil the cloves 2 minutes, drain in a colander and rinse with cold water to chill.
- Set aside the 8 cloves needed for the turkey seasoning. If not using the garlic right away, put it in a container, loosely cover (don't seal it) and chill.
- 2. A day ahead if possible, season the turkey. Put all of the seasonings (except for the bacon) into a food processor with the 8 of the garlic cloves. Puree everything. Taste for a distinctive taste of lemon -- add more if needed. Then puree in the bacon.
- Now season the bird under its skin by starting with the breast down at the cavity end. Gently run your fingers under the skin up to the top of the bird, and spoon in several tablespoons of seasonings. Do the same with the thigh and leg areas as well. You will probably have a third or more of the seasonings left. Cover it up and store in the fridge.
- Put the turkey on a platter, loosely cover it and chill over night.
- 3. The next day, take the turkey out of the refrigerator an hour before roasting. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cluster the celery, carrot and onion in the center of a shallow roasting pan so they make a rack for the turkey. Rub the reserved seasonings over the entire turkey and into the cavity. Sprinkle the bird on all sides with salt. Set it breast down on the vegetables, and lower heat to 325ºF.
- 4. Count on roasting the turkey for about 13 to 15 minutes to the pound, or until an instant reading thermometer tucked into the breast reads 170º to 175ºF.
- 5. After the first 30 minutes, pour 1/3 of the wine over the bird, and baste frequently with pan juices. After another half hour, add another 1/3 of the wine. Then baste with pan juices. When the turkey is 90 minutes from being done, add the garlic with the remaining wine to the pan juices. Keep basting the bird as usual. Take care that the garlic doesn't burn -- keep it moistened with pan juices.
- 6. An hour before the turkey is done, take it out of the oven. Use two heatproof oven mitts to carefully turn it breast up. Continue roasting and basting with the pan juices. Once the breast reaches 170-175ºF, remove the turkey from the oven. With potholders, transfer it to a platter and rest the bird at room temperature for 20-25 minutes.
- Make the White Wine Pan Gravy; the roasted garlic will have practically melted into it.
- Set the turkey on a serving platter and garnish it with pine sprigs, thyme or bunches of Italian parsley. Carve, spoon some of the garlic cloves and gravy over the slices, and pass the rest of the gravy at the table.
In 1994, acclaimed food writer and cooking teacher Lynne Rossetto Kasper was receiving accolades for her debut book, The Splendid Table, which at that time was the only book to have won both the James Beard and Julia Child Cookbook of the Year awards. Among the many people enchanted by the book was producer and foodie Sally Swift, who thought the time could be right for a radio program on food.