It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is coming, but it is. And while the results of the general election may have left some of us feeling not all that thankful, it's probably a good time for us to gather together with friends and family and take a break from the 24-hour news cycle. It's also a good time to eat way too much turkey. Especially if it's this maple-glazed turkey, which comes from a recipe I've been using for the past 14 years, and which never, ever disappoints (probably thanks to the cup of butter that gets rubbed all over the bird in between the skin and meat). It's also pretty easy, and the fact that the maple butter can be made 2 days ahead means that you might eek out a little more time for watching the parade (or football. or CNN) on Thanksgiving morning.
WHAT YOU NEED
For the Maple Butter
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
4 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
1/4 cup coriander seeds, coarsely cracked in resealable plastic bag
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
For the Turkey
1 16-to 18-pound turkey; neck, gizzard and heart reserved
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped celery with leaves
2 cups sliced peeled parsnips (about 5 medium)
For the Gravy
2 1/2 cups (about) canned low-salt chicken broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 small bay leaf
2 tablespoons Madeira
1 to 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram
WHAT YOU DO
Make the Maple Butter
Boil maple syrup and 2 tablespoons marjoram in heavy medium saucepan until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in 1 tablespoon marjoram, coriander, lemon peel, and pepper. Add butter and whisk until well blended. Freeze until butter is firm but still spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
Make the Turkey
Set rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey on small rack set in large roasting pan. Starting at neck end, carefully slide hand between skin and breast meat to loosen skin. Rub 1/2 cup maple butter over breast meat under skin. If stuffing turkey, spoon stuffing into neck and main cavities. Tie legs together loosely to hold shape. Rub 1/4 cup maple butter over outside of turkey. Reserve remaining maple butter for gravy. Arrange onions, celery, parsnips, and reserved turkey parts around turkey in pan. Sprinkle vegetables with remaining 1 tablespoon marjoram.
Roast turkey 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Cover entire turkey (not pan) with foil and roast 1 1/2 hours. Add 2 cups broth to pan; roast turkey 1 1/2 hours. Remove foil. Add 1 cup broth to pan and roast turkey until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 30 minutes longer if unstuffed or 1 hour longer if stuffed. Transfer turkey to platter; tent with foil and let stand 30 minutes (internal temperature of turkey will increase 5 to 10 degrees). Reserve mixture in pan for gravy.
Make the Gravy
Strain pan juices into large measuring cup, pressing on solids; discard solids in strainer. Spoon fat from top of pan juices; discard fat. Add enough chicken broth to pan juices in cup to measure 4 1/2 cups. Melt 1/4 cup maple butter and 3 tablespoons butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour; whisk constantly until mixture is deep brown, about 8 minutes (mixture will resemble lumpy oatmeal-like paste). Gradually whisk in broth mixture; bring to boil. Add bay leaf and boil until thickened to sauce consistency, whisking occasionally, about 10 minutes. Whisk in Madeira, 1 tablespoon mustard, and marjoram. Simmer 2 minutes. Taste, adding more mustard if desired. Season gravy with salt and pepper. Brush turkey with maple butter. Serve turkey with gravy.