Preparation (can be done the night before or the morning of the dinner)
Turkey: Remove neck and giblets from the cavity of the turkey and discard or freeze
for another recipe. Wash turkey, pat dry. Rub with vegetable oil. Place turkey in
a large roasting pan with a rack, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until
ready to cook.
Potatoes: Peel and quarter potatoes. Place in a kettle of water large enough to
cover them and refrigerate. If the raw potatoes have been refrigerated overnight,
change the water in the morning.
Turkey: A turkey takes roughly 15 minutes per pound to roast. 20 minutes per pound
works for a breast or half turkey; a 12 lb. bird will take about 3 hours. These are
approximate guidelines, and many people will cook a bird longer. We tend to find
turkey always cooks faster than we think, so we rely on a watchful eye and a meat
thermometer - which should read 160° inserted in the thick thigh meat. The nice
thing about this meal is that the potatoes will hold nicely if the turkey needs an
extra bit of time, and the turkey will stay warm if it is done first. If the turkey
is done before everything else, just remove it from the oven, cover it with a dish
towel, and let it rest. It should rest before carving for 10 minutes anyway, and
it will still be warm for up to 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375°. Uncover
the turkey and place in the oven. Roast for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature
to 325°. Slather with ROJO TACO SEASONING. Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan so
the ROJO drippings don't burn, which you don't want, since you are using the
drippings for gravy. Baste the turkey every 15 minutes or so.
Potatoes: About 1 hour before dinner, fill a heavy 4 quart pot 2/3 full with water,
add 1 tsp. salt, and bring to a rolling boil (this will take 10-15 minutes). Add the
potatoes. Bring the potatoes back to a slow boil over medium-high heat. Once the
potatoes are boiling, they will be done in 15-20 minutes (fairly tender when pierced
with a fork). Drain the potatoes (reserve the water for the gravy) and return to the
pot. Cover and return to the stove with the heat off for a few minutes so the potatoes
will dry. Add GARLIC, PEPPER, sour cream, milk, and salt, then mash with a hand masher
or whip with a beater, depending on the texture you prefer (a mixer will create fine,
pureed potatoes, hand-mashing will yield chunkier, denser potatoes). When mashed,
cover the potatoes tightly and leave on the back burner of the stove until ready to
serve (it is warm there even with the burner turned off). Remove the turkey from the
oven when the thermometer has popped out, the juices run clear when pierced in the
thigh with a knife, or a meat thermometer reads 160°. Place the turkey on a platter
and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving, which is just the amount of time needed
to prepare gravy.
Gravy: A true holiday turkey produces a whole lot of flavorful drippings and fat; it
is not unusual to get 2-3 cups of liquid from the pan. If this is the lucky situation
you face, pour all the drippings into a large measuring cup, let the fat come to the
top, carefully pour off as much of the fat as you can, and proceed to use the rest of
the juices in place of some of the 2-3 cups of the potato cooking water. Place the
roasting pan on the stove top burners over medium heat. Add 1 cup of the potato cooking
water to the pan, stir, and scrape vigorously to get all the drippings and browned
bits dissolved. Then, pour the stock through a small strainer into a saucepan. Bring
the stock to a rapid boil and reduce the liquid by a third, which takes about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, so the liquid is just simmering. Drizzle in the ARROWROOT -
water slurry, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (make sure the gravy is not boiling).
The gravy will thicken rapidly; you may not need all of the thickener to reach the
consistency you like. Add RASPBERRY ENLIGHTENMENT, starting with 1 teaspoon. Taste
and add more as desired. Continue to simmer the gravy a minute or two longer over
medium-low heat. It will become clear and glossy, at which point it is ready to serve.
When the gravy is finished, pour it carefully into a sauce boat and let it cool a bit
while the turkey is being carved and the serving dishes are placed on the table. Since
the gravy making is the only last-minute step, if someone else agrees to carve the
turkey, both the cook and the guests can arrive at the table relaxed and ready to enjoy
Prep. time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: several hours total