The year was 1977 and it was our first Thanksgiving in our first apartment together, after Shelby and I were married. I was so proud of how this turkey turned out and the recipe below is the one I used. If I recall correctly, I adapted it from one my mom had given me...hope you enjoy it!
Roast Turkey & Gravy
A time-tested recipe that's become a holiday tradition, it originally appeared in our book, Farmhouse Christmas.
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
1 c. butter, softened
3 T. fresh sage, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
14 to 16-lb. turkey
3 c. leeks, white and green parts chopped
8 fresh sage sprigs
3 bay leaves, crumbled
4-1/2 c. chicken broth, divided
Garnish: fresh sage and parsley
Combine bacon, butter and chopped sage in a medium bowl. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper; set aside. Pat turkey dry with paper towels and sprinkle cavity with salt and pepper. Place leeks, sage sprigs and bay leaves in cavity. Loosen skin on turkey breast and spread 1/3 cup sage butter over meat, under skin. Place turkey on rack set in large roasting pan and rub 2 tablespoons sage butter over outside of turkey.
Set aside 1/3 cup sage butter for gravy; reserve remaining for basting. Position rack in bottom third of oven. Pour 1/3 cup broth over turkey. Roast at 350 degrees for about 3 hours, until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of inner thigh registers 165 degrees. Baste every 30 minutes with 1/3 cup broth and brush with sage butter.
Transfer turkey to a platter and let stand 30 minutes. To prepare gravy, pour pan juices into a large glass measuring cup; spoon off fat and discard. Pour juices into saucepan, add 2 cups broth and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until liquid is reduced to 2 cups. Whisk in reserved 1/3 cup sage butter; add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 12 to 14.
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