Servings: Serves 10–12
- 1 fresh turkey (14 to 16 pounds), preferably free-range
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 8 sprigs fresh sage
- 2 large onions , coarsely chopped
- 2 stalks celery , coarsely chopped
- 4 large carrots , peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 leeks , rinsed well and coarsely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 cups turkey or chicken broth
- 1 plus 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Freshly ground pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 375°. Rinse turkey well with cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Sprinkle salt and pepper inside the turkey. Lift the skin on the breast and use your hand to gently separate the skin from flesh. Stuff 6 sprigs each of thyme and sage beneath skin to cover the breast.
Mix chopped vegetables and remaining herbs. Fill turkey cavity with most of mixture, reserving several handfuls. If desired, use kitchen string to truss turkey, tying the legs together and tucking the wings beneath the bird. Rub all over with olive oil, and season.
Place remaining vegetables in bottom of greased, large roasting pan. Place turkey, breast side up, on top of vegetables in pan. Roast for one hour at 375 degrees. Remove turkey from oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees. Using oven mitts or large meat forks, turn turkey over so that it is breast side down. Return to the oven and roast for 30 more minutes, or until the skin turns golden brown. Remove turkey from oven and cover loosely with foil. Return turkey to oven and continue roasting for 2 to 2 1/2 hours more, or until a meat thermometer (inserted between a thigh and breast) reads 170 degrees. Transfer the turkey to a carving platter and allow it to sit about 20 minutes before carving.
Place the roasting pan with turkey juices on 2 burners over medium heat. Mix broth and 1 cup of water and add to pan juices. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring to scrape up brown bits, then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into a saucepan and let sit for 5 minutes. Skim off fat that rises to the top. Place saucepan over medium-high heat. Add any accumulated juices from the turkey platter.
To make gravy:
Mix cornstarch with remaining 1/4 cup water and stir into the pan juices. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer until gravy becomes slightly thickened. Remove from heat; add butter and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve with turkey and stuffing. Makes about 5 cups of gravy.