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We learned about a technique in which the turkey is roasted while covered with a chicken broth soaked cheese cloth. We were a little skeptical at first - would it pull off the skin when removed, or worse yet, catch fire while in the oven? Put your fears to rest. Neither of those things happened and the result was the most beautiful and tasty turkey we ever had!

turkey

1 12 - 14 lb turkey (adjust seasonings according to weight)
salt and pepper
1/2 - 2/3 stick butter
1 large tart apple
1 large ripe pear
20 baby carrots or 3-4 large carrots cut into 1-inch chunks
4 or 5 stalks celery cut into thirds, with leafy tops
1 fennel bulb (optional)
1 large yellow or white onion, halved and quartered
3 or 4 6" rosemary sprigs, cut to about 2 inches long
2/3 bunch parsley
25 sage leaves
1/4 - 1/2 cup white vermouth or dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
cheese cloth, roasting pan and basting brush

glaze

1 cup peach preserves
8 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon dried sage
salt and pepper to taste

gravy

1 14 ounce can of chicken or turkey stock
1/2 cup drippings from cooked turkey before glazing (fat removed*)
turkey neck from giblet bag
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 3" sprig rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped
pinch of salt and pepper
1/3 stick of butter
3 tablespoons flour

turkey

preheat oven to 400 degrees

If turkey is frozen, thaw completely. Remove bag of giblets and neck from cavity (set aside for gravy). Rinse inside and out under faucet. Pat off excess water with paper towel. Rub skin with butter, making sure to cover back, legs as well as the breast. Salt and pepper inside and out.

Core apple and pear and cut each into 8 sections. Slice fennel, if using.

Divide the fruit, vegetables, and herbs roughly into thirds. Stuff 1/3 of mix into the cavity of turkey. Bring the legs together tie a simple knot around them. Place turkey on rack breast side down over a rimmed sheet pan and scatter the remaining mix over the turkey. Pour vermouth over the turkey. Add 1 cup water to the pan. Roast for 45 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven (close the oven door). Baste with the juices from the pan. Turn the turkey breast side up. If the liquid in the pan has totally evaporated add another 1/2 cup of water. Cover the turkey with the chicken stock soaked cheese cloth. Return the turkey to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes.

Remove turkey from oven and baste. Roast for another 30 minutes.

Remove turkey and this time remove the cheese cloth. Return to oven and roast for another 15 - 30 minutes until the breasts register about 165 degrees and the thighs register about 170 degrees.

Remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest before glazing and carving. Save the drippings for the gravy.

peach and sage glaze

While turkey is roasting, stir together peach preserves, butter, sage, salt and pepper in a sauce pan and heat until melted to a thick syrup. Set aside. When the turkey has rested brush glaze mixture over all exposed skin, coating thoroughly.

gravy

Simmer turkey neck in drippings for about 20 minutes. Discard neck when done

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.

Add flour 1 tablespoon at a time and stir constantly for 10 - 15 minutes until flour browns and thickens. Do not scorch.

Add broth and drippings and stir to incorporate. Mash out any lumps now.

Add seasonings, stirring again.

Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until desired thickness is reached. Gravy should coat the back of a spoon.

*To remove fat from drippings, refrigerate for 15 minutes after removing from pan, and simply skim off all fat that congeals at top of cup.