Snoop Dogg’s Ain’t No Jive Herbed Turkey and Gravy
FOR THE HERBED TURKEY:
1 12-to-14-lb (4.6 to 6.4 kg) whole turkey, thawed if frozen
1/4 c. (40 g) kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
2 medium oranges
1 1 1/2-oz (40 g) package fresh “poultry herbs” or 2 sprigs sage, 8 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs rosemary, plus more for decorating
8 tbsp. (1 stick, or 110 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 garlic cloves, minced
Cracked black pepper
3 medium yellow onions, each cut into 8 wedges
FOR THE GRAVY:
1 1/4 c. (300 ml) chicken stock or broth
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, stems removed and leaves finely chopped (optional)
TO MAKE THE HERBED TURKEY
1. The night before you plan to cook the turkey, remove the packaging and giblet bag from the cavity. Working in your clean kitchen sink, rinse the outside and inside of the turkey and pat it dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the salt onto the turkey and use your hands to rub it evenly all over the skin. Transfer the turkey to a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight, or up to 24 hours.
2. The day you plan to cook the turkey, make the herb butter: Using a rasp-style grater, remove the zest from 1 orange and put the zest into a medium bowl; reserve the zested orange. Pick the leaves from the sprigs of sage, thyme, and rosemary and finely chop them together; reserve all the stems. Add the chopped herbs to the orange zest. Add the butter and garlic. Stir until everything is evenly combined.
3. Preheat the oven to 325°F [165°C], with a rack in the lower third of the oven.
4. Remove the turkey on the baking sheet from the refrigerator and transfer the turkey to the clean kitchen sink; reserve the baking sheet. Rinse the turkey and pat it dry with paper towels. Insert your fingers between the skin and meat over the breasts and thighs to separate the skin from the meat, taking care not to tear it or remove it from the turkey. Using a spoon, gently lift the skin and place spoonfuls of the herb butter between the skin and meat all over the turkey. Use your hands to press and spread the butter evenly. Rub any herb butter left in the bowl all over the outside of the turkey. Liberally season the turkey with pepper.
5. Place 8 onion wedges into the cavity of the turkey and add the reserved herb stems. Group the remaining onion wedges in the center of the rimmed baking sheet so they touch. Center the turkey on top of the onions. Place the turkey in the oven. Bake for 2 to 2½ hours until golden brown on the outside and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh (not touching the bone) reads at least 165°F [75°C].
6. Remove the turkey from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes. Using a meat fork or wooden spoon inserted into the turkey’s cavity, gently lift it off the baking sheet and onto a large cutting board. Tent the turkey loosely with aluminum foil.
TO MAKE THE GRAVY
1. Set a strainer over a glass measuring cup and pour the sheet pan drippings and onions into it. While the drippings drain, squeeze the juice from both oranges. Once the drippings have fully drained, set the onions aside in a small bowl. Spoon off 2 Tbsp of the fat that rises to the surface of the drippings and place in a medium saucepan; continue removing the remaining fat; discard it or save for another use. Once all the fat is removed, add the orange juice to the drippings. Add enough chicken stock to make 2 cups [480 ml] of liquid.
2. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat to warm the rendered fat. Add half the drained onions (reserve the other half). Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring, until the onions start to fall apart and caramelize at the edges.
3. Add the flour. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the drippings-and juice mixture and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a thick gravy. Remove the pan from the heat and season with salt and pepper. If you like a smooth gravy, transfer it to a blender and purée until smooth, or leave as is with pieces of onion. Stir in the parsley (if using) and pour the gravy into a serving bowl or gravy boat.
TO SERVE, FOLLOW THE GREAT 8
1. Snip those legs away, both legs, separating the thighs from the drumsticks.
2. Remove the bones from the thighs and roughly chop the thigh meat.
3. Cut away the breasts in whole pieces then cut crosswise into slices to your liking.
4. Remove the wings as whole pieces.
5. Arrange the breast slices together in the center of a serving platter.
6. Place the wings together on one side and the drumsticks together on the opposite side.
7. Pile the thigh meat below the breast slices and pile the reserved roasted onion wedges above it.
8. Garnish the platter with fresh herb sprigs and serve warm with the gravy.