Five years ago, I decided I wanted to host my family’s annual Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t think that was the first time I roasted a turkey, but it might have been the second. I made a turkey with a citrus-pomegranate glaze, then used the pan juices to make a citrus-pomegranate gravy. I assume my mom was just being nice when she said it was the best gravy she’d ever had, but it is definitely one of my favorites.
The turkey is pretty damn good too.
I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit since then, making it even more delicious. The first step is a butter with minced garlic, orange zest, and herbs. I had some basil left in my garden so I put that in there, but typically I use dried herbs here.
Loosen the skin of the bird and pat the butter around the breast and thighs.
Next I made a glaze from the oranges I’d zested, a pomegranate, and a little honey. Two oranges and one pomegranate netted about a cup of juice.
I poured the glaze over the bird, then added a little bit of water to my roasting pan to make sure nothing burned. I also like to tuck a couple potatoes around the turkey just for snacking on.
Roast the turkey at 425° for half an hour, then turn it down to 350°, basting it every half hour. When the turkey is nice and brown, loosely tent aluminum foil over it to keep it from getting too dark. I accidentally let this turkey get just a wee bit too dark, but look at the streaks of glaze on that turkey leg!
Take the bird out of the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. Next, transfer the turkey to a serving platter and gently scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the roasting pan. Pour the pan juices into a bowl or measuring cup, then skim the fat off the top of the juices – this fat will be used to make the roux for the gravy.
Mix the skimmed fat with an equal amount of flour in a saucepan over medium heat to create a roux. Slowly pour in the pan juices, stirring constantly. Give it a little salt and pepper seasoning and you’ve got gravy!
The herb butter takes this turkey over the top, plus the glaze imparts an incredible flavor to the gravy…it’s enough to make me wish Thanksgiving was every month! Carve the turkey, decorate the platter with extra seasonings, and serve it to people you love.
Orange-Pomegranate Glazed Turkey
An orange-herb butter and orange-pomegranate glaze create a flavorful turkey and an amazing orange-pomegranate gravy.
- 13-15 lb turkey, giblets/neck removed
- 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), room temperature
- 2 oranges
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbs dried basil (fresh basil is also good)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 pomegranate
- 1/4 c. honey
- 1 c. water
- 6 tbs flour
- 1/3 c. reserved fat
- 4 c. reserved broth
- Place the turkey in a roasting pan. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Place the butter in a small bowl. Zest the oranges and add the zest to the bowl. Add in the oregano, basil, and garlic. Stir until everything is well combined.
- Quarter the oranges and squeeze the juice into a bowl. Juice the pomegranate and add that to the orange juice. Mix the honey into the juice.
- Gently loosen the skin of the turkey breast. Pat the butter under the skin. Pour the glaze over the turkey. Stuff the juiced orange quarters into the breast cavity and/or tuck them around the turkey. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over the turkey, then add one cup of water to the roasting pan. Tuck the wings into the bird, and if necessary tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string.
- Place the turkey in the oven. After 30 minutes, baste the turkey and turn the oven down to 350°F. Baste the turkey every half hour after that. When the turkey gets sufficiently dark, loosely tent aluminum foil over the turkey to prevent further browning.
- After two hours, start checking the internal temperature of the turkey by sticking a thermometer into the thickest part of the bird. Bake until the lowest internal temperature of the bird is 165°F (should be 2.5 - 3 hours).
- Transfer turkey to serving platter and let stand for 30 minutes. Gently scrape the bottom of the roasting pan, then strain the pan juices in a fine mesh strainer. Let the juices stand for 2 minutes so the fat separates out, then skim the fat off (I used a ladle). At this time I made a quick broth from the giblets and neck by simmering 2 cups of water with the organs so that I had a total of 4 cups of broth when combined with the pan juices.
- Make a roux using 1/3 cup of the skimmed fat and 6 tbs of flour: heat the fat in a pot over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly. Mixture should bubble. Cook for 3 minutes, then slowly whisk in the broth. Season gravy with salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer gravy for 5 minutes then remove from heat.
- Carve up the turkey and serve with gravy!
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