One of our two cats died last night. Considering she was 16, it wasn't unexpected. She lived a very long life full of cuddles, brushings, naps, catnip, all the good things cats love. One of her favorite treats was roast turkey. She would park in front of the oven the entire time it roasted, begging for tastes. We chased her off the counter and out of the garbage more than once as she rummaged for turkey bits. So for my recipe today, even though it isn't even close to the usual turkey roasting season, I offer Roast Turkey with Gravy.
1 16 - 20 lb turkey (on the small side at my house, we try to find the 25 - 30 pounders when we can)
2 large oranges, cut into quarters, don't peel
2 large onions, peeled and cut into quarters
1 T. dried rosemary
Thaw turkey completely. The fastest way to do this is to put it in the sink, with the stopper in place, and let cold water dribble over it for about 6-10 hours. It takes 3 - 5 days to thaw in the fridge. Plan ahead.
Unwrap turkey and place in large roasting pan. I use a black ceramic coated one, make sure yours has a good fitting lid. Stuff body cavity and neck cavity with oranges and onions. Working from the tail end, gently slide your hand between the skin and the breast meat. Spread rosemary under skin. Put the lid on the roaster. This traps moisture so you get plenty for gravy and the meat stays moist. It also cooks faster. Roast in a 350° oven for 3.5 - 4.5 hours, until meat is at least 170° or until the legs pull off easily.
Remove all drippings and place in large saucepan. You should get at least 4 cups. Replace the lid on the roaster and set the turkey aside to stay warm.
For gravy, bring drippings to a boil. Mix 1/4 c. cornstarch in 1 c. cold water until no lumps remain. Stir into drippings. Bring back to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Salt to taste. Add 1 t. rosemary to gravy if desired.
Serve gravy and turkey with cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing - you know what makes a turkey dinner. And make sure to share a few tasty bits with your cats.