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Roast Turkey with Mushrooms, Chestnuts and Gravy
Courtesy of Chef Virginia Willis
For the turkey and chestnuts:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons, melted, for greasing the roasting pan
1 12- to 14-pound turkey, rinsed and dried, neck and giblets removed from the cavity
6 fresh bay leaves
7 rosemary sprigs
Coarse salt, to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1 celery stalk, cut in half
1 medium onion, cut in half
2 pounds fresh chestnuts, peeled (See note)
For the mushrooms:
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium shallot, minced
2 pounds wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, criminis, shiitakes or morels; cleaned and halved or quartered
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
For the gravy:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
Reserved pan drippings
4 cups turkey or chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper
Note: To peel the chestnuts, use a sharp paring knife to score the middle of each chestnut with an X, being careful not to cut more than ¼-inch into the flesh. Spread chestnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes—the peel will have separated from the flesh where the cut was made. Peel and discard the skin and the thin membrane of the chestnuts. Keep the chestnuts at room temperature until it’s time to add them to the turkey roasting pan, or cover in an airtight container and store for up to 3 days.
For the turkey:
Preheat the oven to 250°F.
Use 2 tablespoons of the melted butter to lightly grease a roasting rack and pan. Place the bird on the rack in the pan, tucking the wingtips under the body.
Without completely detaching the skin, use your fingers to carefully loosen it from the turkey breast. Slip 5 bay leaves and 6 rosemary sprigs between the skin and the breast meat. Season the cavity with salt and pepper and stuff with the celery, onion and remaining bay leaf and rosemary sprig.
Brush the bird with at least half of the melted butter, then season the exterior lightly with salt and pepper. Cover loosely with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Slow-roast the turkey in the oven, basting frequently with the remaining melted butter and drippings from the pan, for 3–4 hours. Uncover the turkey during its last hour in the oven and add the prepared chestnuts to the bottom of the pan. They will take about 45 minutes to become fork tender; stir them occasionally.
Continue to roast the turkey until an instant-read thermometer registers 165–170°F when inserted into the meaty part of thigh. (The juices should be clear, not reddish-pink, when the thigh muscle is pierced with a knife.) Begin checking for doneness after 3 hours.
Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and stand for 20 minutes before slicing. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chestnuts to a serving bowl; set aside and keep warm. Reserve the pan drippings to make the gravy.
To prepare the mushrooms: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and mushrooms, stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until tender. Remove from the heat, add the parsley and stir to combine. Set aside and keep warm.
For the gravy: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter begins to foam, whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly, for about 3 minutes.
Whisk in the reserved drippings and the turkey stock or broth (a total of 4 cups). Increase the heat to high just to bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 15 minutes, until the gravy is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
To serve: Carve the turkey and serve with the mushrooms, chestnuts and gravy.