Southwestern Turkey with Chipotle Gravy

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 12 hr 10 min
  • Prep: 40 min
  • Inactive: 8 hr 30 min
  • Cook: 3 hr
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings
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1 12- to 14-pound turkey (thawed if frozen)

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 onion, quartered

1 carrot, cut into chunks

1 stalk celery, cut into chunks

3 sprigs thyme, plus 1 tablespoon chopped leaves

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 chipotle chile in adobo, minced, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons sauce from the can

1 to 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or dry sherry

Classic Gravy, recipe follows

Classic Gravy

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more as needed

Turkey neck and giblets (liver discarded)

1 onion, quartered

1 carrot, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

3 sprigs thyme

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup dry white wine

8 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth, plus more as needed

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Turkey pan drippings

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. The day before roasting, prepare the rub: Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey; refrigerate until you make the gravy. Pat the turkey very dry with paper towels. Whisk 2 tablespoons salt, the brown sugar, chile powder, 2 teaspoons paprika, the cumin, coriander and onion powder in a small bowl. Spread about one-quarter of the rub inside the cavity of the turkey and spread the rest all over the skin. Set the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.
  2. The next day, let the turkey let sit at room temperature, 30 minutes. Position an oven rack in the lowest position (remove the other racks); preheat to 350 degrees F.
  3. Pour or wipe out any juices that have collected in the bottom of the roasting pan. Stuff the turkey cavity with the onion, carrot, celery and thyme sprigs. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings under the body.
  4. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat; whisk in the chopped thyme and the remaining 1 teaspoon paprika. Let cool slightly, then brush all over the turkey. Transfer to the oven and roast 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the Classic Gravy, adding the heavy cream and chipotle and sauce with the stock in step 2.
  5. After the turkey has roasted 1 hour, baste it with the drippings. Continue roasting, basting every 30 minutes, until the skin is dark golden brown and a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165 degrees F, about 2 more hours.
  6. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let rest 30 minutes before carving; reserve the drippings for the gravy. Stir the vinegar into the finished gravy.

Classic Gravy

Yield: Photograph by Ryan Dausch
  1. Prepare the stock: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the turkey neck and giblets; cook, turning, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme and bay leaves; stir to coat. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the broth, reduce the heat to low and simmer about 1 hour. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup; reserve the saucepan. You should have 7 cups stock-if you're short, add more broth.
  2. Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons butter in the reserved saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the 7 cups stock; bring to a simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Set aside until the turkey is done.
  3. Pour the turkey pan drippings into a fat separator and let stand until the fat rises to the top. Discard the fat (or drizzle on your stuffing). Whisk the defatted drippings into the gravy; season with salt and pepper. Reheat before serving.