Roast Wild Turkey with Cabernet Gravy

This is a classic method for roasting turkey—wild or domestic. Wild ones might take from 5 to 10 minutes longer per pound to cook than domestic varieties. Adapted from Terry Mathison’s recipe.

  • 1 wild (or domestic) turkey, 10 to 15 pounds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 carrots, cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 or 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups Cabernet Sauvignon (or other dry red wine)
  • 3 tablespoons sweet butter

Preheat oven to 400F. Salt and pepper the body cavity and exterior of the bird. Rub 1 teaspoon of the thyme inside the body cavity as well. Stuff the cavity with the garlic, carrots, onion and 1 or 2 whole lemons, depending on how much room is available. Rub the body with the remaining olive oil and cover the skin with the remaining thyme. Place on a rack in a large roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes.)
Reduce heat to 325F and continuing roasting, basting occasionally, until the legs move loosely in their joints, and the bird’s juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a fork. Count on 25 minutes per pound. After the initial 20 minutes, you may set a sheet of aluminum foil loosely over the top of the bird to keep the breast meat from drying out.)
Remove the bird from the pan and set aside. Discard the fatty drippings from the pan and place the pan on the stovetop over high heat. Add the wine to the pan and stir to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Cook to reduce the liquid by half. Reduce heat to low and add the butter, stirring until it is melted. Transfer the sauce to a serving dish and use as a garnish for the sliced turkey meat.

Published on July 1, 2010