Paleo Apple-Bourbon Turkey and Gravy
A wonderful "fall" take on a classic Thanksgiving turkey - this bird will be the centerpiece of your feast! Mom and I experimented for years with Turkey recipes, until we found this one from the November 2011 issue of Southern Living magazine and made it our own. Now I have adapted it to be Paleo-friendly.
Author: Lea Hanna Dickens
Recipe type: dinner
- 4 cups apple juice
- 1 cup bourbon
- ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar (To make it Paleo, I will be substituting the brown sugar for local honey.)
- 1 whole fresh (12-15lb) turkey
- 4 celery ribs
- 4 large carrots
- 3 small apples, halved or quarters
- 1 large onion, sliced
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour (Instead of the flour, I will be substituting coconut flour. Almond flour could also be used.)
- ½ cup chicken stock (Use mom's chicken stock recipe - it's divine!)
- Cheese cloth
- Kitchen string
- The day before Thanksgiving, combine apple juice, bourbon and honey - stirring until honey is dissolved.
- Clean turkey - removing giblets and neck - making sure to rinse and drain cavity well. Pat dry. Place turkey in a large roasting pan. Soak cheesecloth in marinade, then wring dry. Place cheesecloth over turkey, pouring the rest of the marinade over top. Cover and chill for 12-24 hours, basting occassionally.
- On Thanksgiving Day, preheat oven to 325˚. Remove turkey from the roasting pan and the cheesecloth from the turkey. Reserve 3 cups of marinade for gravy. Season turkey (inside and out) with salt and pepper - gently rubbing it into the skin. Tie legs together with kitchen twine (if yours came with a little plastic leg holder - don't forget to remove it before cooking!) and tuck wingtips underneath bird.
- Arrange celery, carrots and apples in the bottom of the roasting pan. Return turkey to pan, breast side up, and pour reserved marinade over top.
- Bake at 325˚ for 3-4 hours - the meat thermometer (placed in the thickest portion of the thigh) should read 165˚ or the little temperature button has popped (some turkeys come with this already inserted into the bird and are reliable especially if you don't have a meat thermometer.) Remember: baste turkey every 30 mins with pan juices and cover with aluminum foil after about 2 hours 30 mins to prevent excess browning. Remove from oven and let stand 30 mins.
- Transfer turkey to serving platter making sure to reserve 2 ½ cups of pan drippings for gravy. Strain drippings through a fine mesh strainer, keeping just the liquid.
- To make gravy: melt butter in saucepan over medium heat; whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly for 1-2 mins or until smooth. (This process goes rather quickly so, once the mixture is smooth, continue on to the next step.) Gradually whisk in pan drippings and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until gravy thickens (about 5 mins). If you like a thinner gravy, add up to ½ cup of chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
There is an option with this turkey to marinade for 12-24 hours prior to cooking. I usually marinade and chill the turkey the night before and take it out for cooking about 9:30-10:00 Thanksgiving morning, which is usually right around 12 hours total marinating time. You can do more. You can do less. You don't have to do this step at all. I think we've tried it with and without in previous years and both worked well.