Holiday Roast Turkey & Gravy

I have tried many turkey recipes over the years and this is by far the most tasty delicious recipe I've found. It's a little extra work making the Herbed Butter, but so worth it. The gravy that this makes is perfect and has such flavor!!! I have certainly stopped my search for the perfect holiday turkey, this is it.

Herbed Butter

1/3 cup real maple syrup

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram

2 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

3/4 cup butter, softened slightly

With mixer combine syrup and butter until well blended. Mix in herbs. Spoon mixture onto plastic wrap and roll into a log. Refrigerate until hard. Can be made up to two days ahead.

Turkey

15 pound turkey (or size you prefer)

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrots

2 cups chicken stock or broth

Fresh thyme sprigs

Fresh marjoram sprigs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place enough foil in the roaster that you can come up and over turkey and make a "tent" from all sides. Wash and dry turkey and place on foil in pan. Slide your hand under the skin of the breast to loosen. Put aside 1/4 of the butter log for the gravy. Slice the rest in about 1/4 inch slices and place under the skin both on the breast and thigh and also rub around the top. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange vegetables, thyme and marjoram sprigs around turkey and inside the cavity. Pour chicken stock over vegetables. Bring foil up around the turkey and fold to form a loose tent. Roast until internal temperature in the thigh reaches 180 degrees. Uncover for the last 1/2 hour to brown if necessary. Transfer turkey to a platter and let rest 20 minutes before carving. Strain pan drippings for gravy.

Gravy

Reserved pan drippings

Reserved herbed butter

1/4 - 1/3 cup flour

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon thyme

2 tablespoons applejack brandy

Salt and pepper, to taste

Strain pan drippings into a large bowl or measuring bowl. Spoon off fat from top. Add enough chicken stock to make 3 cups. (Mine usually makes almost 2 quarts without adding water.) Transfer liquid to a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. In a small bowl mix reserved butter mixture and flour to form a paste and whisk into the broth. Stir in the thyme, bay leaf and apple brandy. Boil until reduced and thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.