Brush the turkey with fennel butter to pick up on the fennel in the brine.
Roasted Turkey with Thyme, Rosemary, Fennel, and Lemon
- For the Brine:
- 1/4 cup Fennel Seeds (divided)
- 5 quarts Water
- 1 cup Kosher Salt
- 3/4 cup Sugar
- 5 Rosemary Sprigs (divided)
- 3/4 cup Thyme Sprigs (divided)
- zest of 3 Lemons (finely grated)
- 8 Garlic cloves (bruised and peeled)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons whole Black Peppercorns
- One 8 to 11 pound Whole Turkey
For the Fennel Butter:
- 10 tablespoons Unsalted Butter (divided)
For the Roast Vegetables:
- 1 large Onion (coarsely chopped)
- 2 Carrots (peeled and coarsely chopped)
- 2 Celery Stalks (coarsely chopped)
For the Gravy:
- 3 cups Turkey or Chicken Stock
- 1/4 cup plain Flour
- For the Brine: In small heavy sauté pan, stir fennel seeds over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until fragrant and toasted.
- In large saucepan, bring 1 quart of water to a boil over high heat. Add salt, sugar, 4 rosemary sprigs, 1/2 cup of thyme sprigs, lemon zest, garlic, peppercorns, and two-thirds of toasted fennel seeds and remove from heat.
- Pour hot brine into a container large enough to hold turkey and add remaining 4 quarts of cold water to cool brine. Place turkey into brine, making sure it is entirely submerged. Cover container tightly with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 12 hours or overnight.
- For the Fennel Butter: Crush remaining one-third fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle. Alternatively, transfer remaining one-third fennel seeds to a cutting board. Using a rolling pin or bottom of a sauté pan, crush fennel seeds.
- In a small sauté pan, stir 5 tablespoons of butter and crushed fennel seeds over medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until butter has melted and mixture is fragrant.
- For the Roast Vegetables: Position oven rack on lowest rung in oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Remove turkey from brine and discard brine. Pat turkey dry (inside and outside) with a clean towel. Stuff main turkey cavity with half of each onion, carrots, and celery, and tie turkey legs together with butcher’s twine.
- Place remaining onion, carrots, and celery over bottom of roasting pan. Set roasting pan rack over vegetables in roaster and place turkey on rack. Brush some fennel butter over turkey.
- Cover and roast turkey for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Baste turkey with more fennel butter and continue roasting uncovered for about 1 hour longer, basting occasionally with more fennel butter, or until skin is crisp and brown and a meat thermometer reads 165˚F when inserted into thickest part of thigh under drumstick and closest to body.
- Transfer turkey to a carving board. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before carving.
- For the Gravy: Set roasting pan on stove over medium-high heat. Add turkey stock, any remaining fennel butter, remaining 1 rosemary sprig, and remaining 1/4 cup thyme sprigs to pan drippings in roasting pan, and bring mixture to a simmer, stirring often to scrape up brown bits. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes to infuse flavors. Strain pan juices through a fine sieve, and discard solids.
- In a medium heavy saucepan, melt remaining 5 tablespoons unsalted butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, or until well blended and still pale golden. Whisk in pan juices and bring mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until gravy thickens slightly. Season gravy to taste with salt and pepper.
- Carve turkey and serve it with gravy.
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