Roast Turkey with Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients (13)

  • 1 (15- to 20-pound) whole turkey, fresh or thawed (reserve giblets and neck for sauce)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 10 medium fresh sage leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh marjoram
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 medium dried bay leaves
  • 7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped white mushrooms
  • 2 cups oyster mushrooms, torn into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
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Roast Turkey with Mushroom Sauce

This classic Thanksgiving bird comes from Charlie Palmer, one of America’s leading chefs.

What to buy: Look for a bird that hasn’t been frozen. You might have to order it in advance from your butcher, but it’s worth the money.

Game plan: Prepare the turkey by removing the giblets from the bird and reserving them for the gravy. Rinse and dry the turkey thoroughly, especially around the joints and in the cavity. Rub the entire turkey with the cut side of a halved garlic clove, and then squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the bird and rub the juice all over. Place the garlic and lemon in the cavity. Rub all over with a few good pinches of salt. For a crisp, golden bird, it helps to let the turkey skin dry out a bit. To do this, place the bird on a plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and leave in the refrigerator overnight. If you’re short on time, you can skip this step, but we found that the advanced seasoning results in a tastier bird.

While the turkey roasts, start the sauce. Then while the turkey rests (before carving), finish the mushroom sauce.

Measure the turkey’s internal temperature on the inside of the thickest part of the inner thigh, making sure the thermometer does not touch the bone.

Helpful Hints: Here’s how to fix dry turkey, and how to quickly correct undercooked turkey.

Tips for Christmas


  1. 1Heat oven to 450°F. Remove turkey from the refrigerator and rest at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes. Rub entire bird with olive oil and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Peel and quarter one onion. Place onion, sage, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and bay leaves in turkey’s cavity.
  2. 2Place turkey on an oiled roasting rack, set in a roasting pan, and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F. Baste turkey every 45 minutes. When the internal temperature of the turkey’s thigh reaches 160°F, it’s done. (Total roasting time is roughly 12 minutes per pound.) While turkey is roasting, start to make the mushroom sauce.
  3. 3Combine chicken broth and turkey giblets and neck in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, skimming occasionally to remove impurities.
  4. 4When neck meat is completely tender, about 1 hour, remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Set broth aside and reserve neck and giblets, if using. Remove meat from neck and coarsely chop it with giblets if you want to add them to the finished sauce.
  5. 5Transfer turkey to a cutting board and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes, tented lightly with aluminum foil to keep warm. (Leave juices in the roasting pan.) Meanwhile, finish the sauce.
  6. 6Peel second onion and cut into small dice; reserve. Place the roasting pan with the pan drippings on two burners over medium heat. Add mushrooms and diced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Sift in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until flour is fully incorporated (the sauce will pull together and start to look slightly glossy).
  7. 7Add broth mixture and simmer, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes. Add tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Carve turkey and serve with gravy.

Beverage pairing: Maysara Jamsheed Pinot Noir, Oregon. A light, fruity red is always great with turkey, but the addition of mushroom gravy in this recipe pushes that red toward Pinot Noir, which is a classic companion to mushrooms. This wonderful Oregon Pinot has pure but restrained fruitiness, bringing in earthy flavors of mushrooms and beets.

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