Recipe courtesy of Jonathan Waxman

Roast Turkey 101 (with Gravy)

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 8 servings
If you're looking for the easiest way to roast a Thanksgiving turkey, look no further! The basics: rub turkey with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook at 425 degrees F, 7-10 min per lb, basting often. Turkey is ready when thigh meat is at 160 degrees F.





  1. Turkey, part 1: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place turkey in the kitchen sink and cut outer wrapping. Remove neck and giblets from inside the turkey. Discard liver and set aside the rest. Pull out timer and discard. Hold turkey under cold running water (lukewarm if turkey is cold from the fridge, to bring to room temp), 5 minutes. Remove from sink and pat dry with paper towels inside and out.
  2. Transfer to a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Tuck wing tips under the body and tie the legs together with twine. Rub turkey with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add ½ cup water to the pan and place in the oven. Roast turkey until golden brown, 7–10 minutes per pound, basting every 15 minutes.
  3. Gravy, part 1: Place remaining olive oil, neck, giblets and onion in a skillet. Season with salt and pepper and place in the oven, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, baste the turkey, rotate the pan (for even browning), and continue roasting.
  4. Remove skillet from oven and place all the contents into a saucepan. Add water and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to low and simmer about 1 hour, uncovered.
  5. Turkey, part 2: After an hour of roasting, add leeks, carrots, and onions. First, cut leeks by leaving the root intact and cutting lengthwise. Soak in water to remove sand, 2 minutes. Peel and cut carrots and onions in half. Inspect the leeks for sand, discard any sandy pieces, cut off the roots, and roughly chop. Add vegetables to the bottom of the roasting pan. At this point, check turkey temperature for doneness. When thermometer registers 160 degrees F, remove turkey from oven and place on cutting board to rest while finishing the gravy.
  6. Gravy, part 2: Transfer roasting pan to the stove, covering 2 burners, and cook the vegetables over high heat until brown, about 10 minutes. Add the giblet stock, stir and scrape the browned bits from the pan, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Strain the vegetable and giblet mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large saucepan and serve. Reserve half of the gravy if you are making Jonathan Waxman's Mushroom-Baguette Stuffing.