My best turkey for Thanksgiving was prepared and cooked by Michelle Lee. It was wrapped with bacon on the outside and stuffed with butter underneath the skin to keep the meat moist once it cooked. Very delicious! I enjoyed it. Try it at home if you can. This year, I am planning to do something similar so I googled and this is what I found:
Bacon-wrapped turkey with cider gravy
What to buy: Look for a fresh turkey; it will end up crispier and tastier than a previously frozen one. If you go with a frozen turkey, make sure it’s completely thawed before roasting (this will take several days in the refrigerator).
Game plan: To get an accurate reading, measure the temperature of the turkey on the inside of the thigh, and make sure the thermometer is not touching the bone. You can watch the turkey evolve from bagged bird to glistening roast here.
For the turkey:
- 1 (18- to 20-pound) fresh turkey
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium white onions, peeled and halved
- 3 medium celery stalks, halved crosswise
- 10 medium cloves garlic, peeled
- 6 medium ripe pears, such as Anjou or Bosc
- 1 pound thinly sliced smoked bacon
For the gravy:
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, at room temperature
- 8 large fresh sage leaves
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 medium dried bay leaf
- 1 1/2 cups hard pear cider
For the turkey:
- Heat oven to 400°F. Remove turkey from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Remove giblets and neck; reserve neck. Rinse out turkey’s cavity and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Trim most of excess fat and skin from neck and cavity, and make 3-inch slits through the skin where the legs meet the breast.
- Rub turkey all over with 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, then season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Season cavity with salt and pepper, and place 1 onion half, 1 celery piece, and 2 garlic cloves inside.
- Place turkey in a large roasting pan. Arrange neck and remaining onions, celery pieces, and garlic cloves in the pan, and place in the oven. Roast turkey for 30 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350°F. Every 45 minutes, baste bird with pan drippings.
- About 45 minutes before turkey is finished or when the internal temperature of the inner thigh reaches 145°F, cut pears in half and remove cores and stems. Brush each half with remaining vegetable oil and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove turkey from the oven and overlap bacon strips across breast and around legs. If desired, secure bacon strips about 1 inch from edges with toothpicks. Arrange pear halves in the roasting pan and return turkey to the oven.
- Roast turkey until the internal temperature of the inner thigh reaches 155°F. Remove from the oven and let rest uncovered while you prepare the gravy, or at least 30 minutes before carving. Remove pears to a serving platter, reserve onions, and discard any remaining solids in the roasting pan.
For the gravy:
- Place 4 pear halves and 1 onion half in a food processor and purée until smooth, about 2 minutes. Reserve.
- Make a roux by melting butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once butter is completely melted, add flour and whisk continuously until well combined. Cook until flour loses its raw flavor and starts to emit a toasty aroma, about 2 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth until smooth, add herbs and pear purée, and bring to a simmer.
- Pour off as much grease as you can from the roasting pan without sacrificing any juices and set the pan over two burners over medium heat. When pan juices begin to sizzle, slowly pour in pear cider and cook, scraping up any browned bits with a flat spatula. Add cider mixture to gravy and stir to combine. Simmer until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper; strain gravy through a fine mesh strainer. Carve turkey and serve with gravy.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!