Serves a Crowd

Barbara & Harry's Excellent Roast Turkey with Gravy

November  2, 2010
2 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Makes Enough for Thanksgiving Turkey and Stuffing
Author Notes

My husband, Harry, doesn’t cook. When I met him, he was subsisting on frozen stir-fry dinners. The occasional egg. Jarred spaghetti sauce. Canned soup and vegetables. (His Food52 handle is eateronly. Seriously.) When we married and hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner, he insisted on being in charge of the turkey. I was skeptical. But ours is a second marriage, and the currency of second marriages is generosity and acceptance. What the hell. Make the turkey.

Imagine my surprise when that turkey was delicious. Moist and flavorful. With one of the best gravies I had ever had. Over the years (14 now), we’ve tinkered a little. I bought good paprika. Added the sherry to the gravy. But really, this is his technique, and his recipe.

In this recipe, the turkey is as much a part of the gravy as the rest of the components so I’ve included his technique for seasoning the turkey. He prefers a stuffed turkey—makes a bread stuffing, but you can use whatever stuffing you prefer—and uses oil instead of butter because his family kept kosher, and therefore did not mix dairy and meat. The Yiddish word for the little brown bits that stick to the bottom of the pan is gribenes, and he calls a roux an einbrun. All measurements are approximate and really depend on the size of the turkey.

Last year did not use a kosher turkey so I dry brined it a la the judy bird, and it was fabulous.

Test Kitchen Notes

The method of pan-roasting this hearty onion gravy is what makes it a stunner. As the turkey rests, drbabs brilliantly instructs us to deepen the flavors of the gravy in the roasting pan, along with a welcome dose of sherry. It's the kind of technique we wish we thought of long ago! Feel free to strain the onions out, but we like it served "chunky", the onions adding satisfying texture to the Thanksgiving plate. - Maddy —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Turkey
  • 1 kosher turkey, rinsed well and dried (don't brine kosher turkeys)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1/2-1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2-1 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 3-4 cups chopped onions
  • water (or chicken broth--my choice)
  • For the gravy
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  1. Turkey
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Make a paste of oil and seasonings and rub the outside and cavity of the turkey with the paste. Stuff the turkey with your favorite stuffing. Place the chopped onions in the bottom of the roasting pan, and place the turkey, breast side up, on top of the onions. Roast the turkey uncovered for 15-20 minutes. When the onions have started to brown, add just enough water (chicken broth) to cover the onions in the roasting pan. Roast the turkey, covered loosely with foil, basting periodically.
  1. For the gravy
  2. About ½ hour before turkey is finished roasting, make the einbrun. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add flour, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture clumps together and turns golden. It will smell nutty. Continue cooking until the mixture has a dark golden color, being careful to stir constantly so that it doesn’t burn. Set aside.
  3. Add einbrun to the onions in the bottom of the roasting pan. Continue roasting the turkey, uncovered, until it is finished roasting (165 degrees in thigh). Remove turkey from roasting pan.
  4. Pour sherry into pan drippings, and stir, scraping up any brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Return roasting pan to oven and continue to roast gravy for about 15-20 minutes, until it is reduced and somewhat thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning. You can pour it into a sauce pan and let it reduce on top of the stove while the turkey rests if you prefer. Pour gravy into a pitcher and serve hot.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Peg
  • simplythebest
  • aargersi
  • Ms. T
    Ms. T
  • healthierkitchen

36 Reviews

Peg October 30, 2019
This recipe sounds wonderful! I just saved it on my app for this Thanksgiving. We haven’t hosted Thanksgiving at our house in years, so hopefully everything will go well. Thanks for the recipe!
drbabs October 30, 2019
Hi Peg. I’m sure it will be great. Happy Thanksgiving!
simplythebest March 28, 2013
I will be using your recipe for Easter Brunch love the history of your recipe :-)
drbabs April 1, 2013
Thanks, Annie, so glad you liked it! XO
Allieyum December 18, 2011
Drbabs--We brined the turkey breast for 36 hours--then followed your instructions, delicious
results! Left overs were yummy with the einbrun on the hot sandwiches.
Totally a do over recipe--steering clear of the splatter, the burn is healing. There is an
"upside" to a kitchen ouch, I got out of doing a pile o' dishes. ;)
Allieyum December 11, 2011
Please be careful as you add einbrun to onions-- when I added the mixture to the onions, it caused the
the drippings to boil up vigorously and I got hit with a hot gob of einbrun. Burns suck!
drbabs December 12, 2011
Oh, i'm so sorry that happened to you. We never experienced that so I didn't think to put a warning in the recipe...I hope you're OK!
aargersi October 10, 2011
Yum Dr B! Those onions sound so good ... I wonder if they would have enough time to get fabulous with just a big chicken?
drbabs October 10, 2011
Thanks...I think so. I made it last night with just a turkey breast.
Ms. T. November 23, 2010
What a beautiful kitchen love story, thanks for making me smile :) And maybe I'll try a little more of that generosity and acceptance in my first marriage, considering that my husband offered to take charge of the turkey this year, and I was reluctant to relinquish control...It's sometimes hard for us cooks to let go!
drbabs November 23, 2010
Thanks; so true. Generosity and acceptance go a long way. May you have a long and happy life together.
healthierkitchen November 11, 2010
Congrats on the EP!
drbabs November 11, 2010
Thanks! My husband is so excited!
OvenmittG November 7, 2010
Just joined your site tonight and so happy to start out here with your "turkey and gravy" story. I felt as if I were in your kitchen and could smell the turkey roasting. I've used dry sherry in gravy for years and swear by it. It seems to cut that flour, fat taste and gives a slight nutty taste to it. I always remind others to buy and use DRY not sweet it really makes a difference. When I make chicken a la king I add some dry sherry to this sauce too. A little goes a long way. It is wonderful.
drbabs November 7, 2010
Welcome to Food52! I joined the site about a year ago-- because I really love to cook, learn about food and talk about food. I've found this to be a wonderful supportive online community, and it has been so much fun. And my cooking skills have improved tremendously. I hope you have fun here, too. Thanks for your nice comments.
Stockout November 3, 2010
Being a man I can relate to this more than you think. Thanks for the wonderful family recipe, and I don't mean the gravy. Yea Harry!!!.
drbabs November 4, 2010
He's very honored!
Midge November 3, 2010
What a great story drbabs, and a great Harry!
drbabs November 4, 2010
drbabs November 2, 2010
You all are so great--thanks so much for your nice comments!
gingerroot November 2, 2010
Delicious sounding gravy and wonderful story!
dymnyno November 2, 2010
Sagegreen November 2, 2010
Love the story!!!
TiggyBee November 2, 2010
What a sweet story!! I'll bet this is delicious!! 3 cheers for Harry...
Lizthechef November 2, 2010
Go Harry!
mrslarkin November 2, 2010
oh, this sounds very delicious! Well done, Harry and drbabs!!
drbabs November 2, 2010
thanks, mrslarkin!
arielleclementine November 2, 2010
love the story and love the technique! so fun :)
drbabs November 2, 2010
Thanks! I hope you're feeling well!
arielleclementine November 2, 2010
thanks! i'm feeling great lately- i think i'm getting my energy back!
thirschfeld November 2, 2010
Great story and it looks yummy too. This reminds of recipes I might find in one of my favorite cookbooks 2nd Ave Deli. I like the onion addition to the jus.
drbabs November 2, 2010
Thanks! It's such a simple technique and it really works.
healthierkitchen November 2, 2010
This sounds like the one I grew up with!
drbabs November 2, 2010
If you had a grandmother who kept kosher, it probably is!
healthierkitchen November 2, 2010
My first thought was that Harry and I must be related. I think I've been out of NY for so long I forget that these are common Yiddish techniques, though I don't think my mother used sherry! Nice touch. You guys should do a cookbook - New Orleans meets New York!
drbabs November 2, 2010
LOL A cookbook! That would be hilarious. I'm to blame for the sherry; it's not a staple of Yiddish cooking. (Nor are the fresh herbs that I try to sneak in....)