Honey Apple Turkey with Gravy

This Monday, as Maya and I were walking to school, we saw these wild turkeys on the bike trail we travel (ok, not THESE wild turkeys…I brought the camera on Tuesday, and they were gone…stupid turkeys). Which reminded us, oooh, Thanksgiving is coming up pretty soon…and then, Maya said, I’m looking forward to Canadian Thanksgiving! Ooops…well, at least I didn’t totally miss it, because lo and behold, I came home, and checked, and that very day was Canadian Thanksgiving!  Sooo…I decided to continue our recent tradition, and make a yummy Thanksgiving dinner for my family. (Ted was born in Canada, and came to the U.S. when he was 1 1/2…so we think it’s fun to make a Thanksgiving dinner for Canadian Thanksgiving…we had turkey, gravy, stuffing, candied yams, green beans, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.  Mmmm.)

I have a very yummy turkey recipe, from a cookbook that Laluna gave me several years ago. The cookbook is The Best American Recipes 1999, and is top recipe picks from books, magazines, newspapers, and the internet. Lovely! There are some awesome recipes in here, including Lamb Chili, Five-Hour Roast Duck, and more. Mmm. The book says this recipe originally came from Cooking Light magazine. I modify it for our little household by using a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey, and adjusting the quantities accordingly. That means not much in the way of drippings, so our gravy was probably sweeter than it would be with a whole turkey. I didn’t think to add a lot more broth, but I think that would have made the gravy even better.


For the turkey and marinade
1 12-lb fresh or thawed frozen turkey
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup water
4 cups apple juice or apple cider
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

For the gravy
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup Calvados (apple brandy)
3 tbsp honey
1/4 cup all purpose flour

Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey; save them to make stock, if desired. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water; pat dry. Trim any excess fat. Lift the wing tips up and over the back; tuck them under the turkey.

To marinate the turkey
Combine sugar and water in a saucepan, and cook 5 minutes over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Combine turkey and juice mixture in a large oven cooking bag. Seal; marinate in refrigerator 24 hours. Remove from bag; reserve 2 3/4 cups marinade. Discard remaining marinade.

Preheat oven to 325°.

Place turkey on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray or on a rack set in a shallow roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer into meaty part of thigh, making sure not to touch bone. Bake at 325° for 3 hours and 10 minutes or until thermometer registers 180°, basting occasionally with 2 cups marinade. (Cover turkey loosely with foil if it gets too brown.)

Remove turkey from oven. Cover turkey loosely with foil; let stand at least 10 minutes before carving.

To make the gravy
Place a zip-top plastic bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes (fat will rise to the top). Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner. Drain drippings into a medium saucepan, stopping before fat layer reaches opening; discard fat. Add 1/2 cup marinade, broth, brandy, and honey to pan. Combine 1/4 cup marinade and flour; stir with a whisk. Add to gravy mixture in saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer 15 minutes; stir frequently. Serve gravy with turkey.

12 thoughts on “Honey Apple Turkey with Gravy

  1. I had forgotten it was Canadian Thanksgiving. D. has this new grill and he decided to make grilled whole turkey on it lastnight. So we had it with gravy and potatoes….a Thanksgiving meal!!!! Tonight I’m going to make turkey split pea soup with some of the leftovers. Hope it’s good. 🙂
    That recipe above sounds delish.

  2. Turkey split pea soup sounds YUMMY. What time is dinner? 😉 I’ll bring salad and some nice sourdough rolls, k?

  3. I’m very lucky if I even have the turkey thawed out in time, so there’s no way I’d add to my stress and cook a recipe, as Coraline says in the Neil Gaiman novel.

  4. Oh my gosh I saw those very same turkeys today as I was driving home on Cherry. They were on these peoples lawn just eating away at something. They sure make their rounds.

  5. That sounds delicious. Truth be told, most Canucks just buy the Butterball and do whatever the wrapping tells them. This year I was fortunate enough to have two separate Thanksgivings, one involving a turkey entirely wrapped in bacon and stuffed with local fruits. Nummylicious (this is a technical, Canadian term).

    My father used to work the system rather well. He worked for a Canadian airline and of course was not allowed holidays during Christmas, so he took them during October/November and had both Canadian Thanksgiving at home and American Thanksgiving with his US friends in Honolulu. He did the same for Canada Day July 1 and then he’d cross the border and celebrate July 4 with the Yanks. We gave him no end of crap for that, but what the heck? It’s a party!

  6. That’s a great recipe, how I wish I had come here earlier, we’re done with Thanksgiving for now. I think it’s wonderful that you celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving, J!!! Just to give you a headsup,(although I am sure you know already) there are going to be a lot of Indian festivals coming up starting tomorrow and culminating with Diwali which is in the first week of November.

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