Thanksgiving Recipes

Turkey with Thick, Rich, Silky Gravy

Let’s face it. turkey is really a platform for serving rich, thick, silky gravy. Come to think of it, so are potatoes, stuffing and even the peas and pearl onions. Brining, basting and letting your turkey rest* will deliver a juicy flavorful turkey that your guests will rave about right up to the moment they taste your gravy and forget everything else.

*Resting is not optional. I don’t care how hungry Aunt Gertie is, she can wait 20 minutes for juicy turkey.


  • 1 - 1# box of kosher salt
  • 1 - 12-16# turkey
  • 2 onions, sliced thickly
  • 3 tart apples like Winesap or Nittany, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups basil leaves or parsley
  • 2 carrots, halved
  • 6 ribs celery
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1/4 cup butter (4oz) softened
  • 1/2 cup Calvados
  • 8 cups turkey stock
  • 2 tbs butter
  • Sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbs flour(optional)


12 hours before you plan to roast your turkey, place it in a cooler or brining bag. If using a cooler, fill it halfway with ice. Mix salt in 1 gallon of water and pour over the turkey. Add water to the cooler to cover the turkey by 4-6”.

2 hours before cooking, remove the turkey from the brine and rinse thoroughly inside and out with cold running water. 

Preheat oven to 425F

Pat the turkey dry, inside and out. Sprinkle 1.5 tsp each salt and pepper in the cavity of the turkey. Place 1 onion, 1 apple, and 1 cup basil or parsley leaves in the cavity.

Tie together legs with kitchen twine. Tie one more piece of twine around the body binding wings to the body. Rub turkey all over with butter and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

Line your roasting pan with a bed of carrots, onion, apples and celery, top with basil or parsley and white wine. Place turkey, breast side down, directly on the vegetables and place on a rack in the middle of the oven.

Baste the turkey every twenty minutes with pan juices. At 1.5 hours, remove the turkey from the oven and, using two potholders, turn the bird breast side up. Roast for 2-2.5 more hours, continuing to baste every 20 minutes. If the skin looks like it is going to burn, tent the turkey with foil.

When an instant read thermometer inserted in the thigh reaches 165, remove the turkey from the oven. Take the turkey from the roasting pan and place on a platter. Tent with foil. The turkey NEEDS to rest for at least twenty and up to thirty minutes before carving.

Place the roasting pan, with the vegetables and pan juices inside, over two burners set on medium-high. Cook down the pan juices until most of the liquid has evaporated. The remaining liquid will be mostly fat. 

Pour off the fat and remove the vegetables. Set the pan back over medium high heat, add the Calvados and stir up the brown bits in the pan, cooking until reduced to 2 tablespoons.

Add the turkey stock and any juices that have accumulated under the turkey resting on the platter, and reduce to 3 cups. Whisk in butter, season to taste with salt, pepper and a splash of sherry vinegar, if needed.

NOTE: if you want a thicker gravy, when stock is reduced to about 4 cups, remove 1 cup, whisk in flour and return to pan for 5-10 minutes.

Serve gravy over everything on your plate.

Calvados Zabaglione and Sautéed Apples 

Using Calvados, French apple brandy from Normany, in place of traditional Marsala, gives this light, whisked, Italian custard a fall flavor. The Cinnamon Pear Balsamic vinegar, available at Sapore Oil and Vinegar (, 660 Pennsylvania Ave SE) adds light acidity and just the right balance to this sweet dessert.


For Zabaglione:

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup Calvados

For Apples:

  • 2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • 4 tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup maple or brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg, fresh grated
  • 1/4 cup Calvados
  • 2 tbs Cinnamon Pear Balsamic vinegar



Whisk together egg yolks, sugar and wine in a metal bowl placed over a saucepan filled with simmering water.

Whisk steadily, keeping water at a simmer,  until cooked through, and volume doubles. about 5-7 minutes.


Melt 2 tbs butter in large sauté pan over medium heat.

Sauté 1/2 apples for five minutes. Remove, add additional tbs butter and sauté remaining apples. Remove from pan.

Add sugar, nutmeg, Calvados, vinegar and remaining butter. Simmer until thick. Add apples and toss to mix.

Serve apples topped with custard.

Jonathan Bardzik was raised on his mom’s garden-fresh vegetables. He shares those recipes, and his experience gained spending 2-3 hours each night in the kitchen, every Saturday morning at Eastern Market, where he gives free cooking demonstrations, complete with tastings and recipe cards. For more information, and to see what Jonathan is cooking in his kitchen right now, visit

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