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Celebrities Talk Turkey

Born in Rome, Giada De Laurentiis grew up in a large Italian family and started cooking at the age of five. Now, that same passion for cooking, combined with her infectious charm and impressive culinary skills, has made her a globally-revered celebrity chef, inspiring legions of loyal fans.

Born in Rome, Giada De Laurentiis grew up in a large Italian family and started cooking at the age of five. Now, that same passion for cooking, combined with her infectious charm and impressive culinary skills, has made her a globally-revered celebrity chef, inspiring legions of loyal fans.

We’ve consulted two of the Food Network’s most beloved superstars, Giada De Laurentiis and Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, who’ve agreed to share their favorite roast turkey recipes, along with sure-fire tips to make your next holiday gathering a night to remember.

Giada De Laurentiis
Turkey with Herbes de Provence and Citrus
8 to 10 servings
My Italian twist on Thanksgiving. Most birds are very dry and tasteless, but the citrus and herbs in the cavity of the bird really do penetrate the meat and give this turkey a fabulous fresh aroma and moistness.

1 (14- to 15-pound) turkey, neck
and giblets reserved
1 orange, cut into wedges
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1 onion, cut into wedges
6 fresh rosemary sprigs
6 fresh sage sprigs
6 fresh oregano sprigs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons herbes de
Provence
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt, plus more
to taste
1 1⁄2 teaspoons freshly ground
black pepper, plus more to taste
6 cups (about) canned reduced-
sodium chicken broth
1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
To make the turkey
Position the rack in the lowest third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Rinse the turkey and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the turkey on a rack set inside a large roasting pan. Stuff the orange and lemon wedges, onion, and 2 sprigs of each fresh herb into the main turkey cavity. Using kitchen twine, tie the legs together to hold the shape of the turkey. In a small saucepan, stir 2 tablespoons of the butter, the herbes de Provence, oil, and 1 1⁄2 teaspoons each of the salt and pepper over medium heat just until the butter melts. Rub the butter mixture all over the turkey and between the turkey breast meat and skin. Place the turkey neck and giblets in the roasting pan. (The turkey can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting.)
Cover the turkey breast with foil. Roast for 20 minutes. Pour 3 cups of the broth into the pan and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan around the turkey. Add the remaining sprigs of fresh herbs to the pan juices. Return the pan to the oven and roast the turkey for 40 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and discard the foil. Pour 1 cup of broth into the pan. Continue roasting the turkey, basting occasionally with pan juices, until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 160°F, or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer, about 1 hour 30 minutes longer. Transfer the turkey to a platter and tent with foil. Let stand for 30 minutes while you prepare the gravy.
To make the gravy
Strain the turkey pan juices through a sieve and into a 4-cup glass measuring cup; discard the solids. Spoon off the fat that rises to the top of the pan juices. Add enough chicken broth to the pan juices to measure 4 cups total. Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the pan juices. Simmer until the gravy thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the turkey with the gravy.

Recipe and photos reprinted from Giada’s Family Dinners by Giada De Laurentiis, Copyright © 2006. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc. Slight font alteration.


Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa
Perfect Roast Turkey
Serves 8
Remember how your mother used to get up at 4 A.M. on Thanksgiving so she could put the turkey in the oven to roast for ten hours? Then she had to baste it all day to keep it from drying out, which, of course, it did anyway?  Forget it. A 12- to 15-pound turkey cooks in 2˙ to 3 hours, and you let it rest for at least 20 minutes before you carve it. Everyone will say, “This is the best turkey I ever ate.” I use an organic turkey whenever I can.

1 fresh turkey (12 pounds)
Kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1  large bunch of fresh thyme
1 lemon, halved
3  Spanish onions
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
4  tablespoons butter melted
1/2 cup good olive oil
8  carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
10  red new potatoes, halved
3  heads fennel, fronds removed, cut into
wedges through the core
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with the thyme, lemon, one of the onions (quartered), and the garlic. Brush the outside of the turkey with the butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey. Peel and slice the remaining onions, toss them with 1/4 cup olive oil, and scatter them around the turkey.
Roast the turkey for 1 hour. Toss the carrots, potatoes, and fennel with 1/4 cup olive oil and add to the roasting pan. Continue to roast for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil; let rest for 20 minutes.
Stir the vegetables and return the pan to the oven. Continue to cook the vegetables while the turkey rests. Slice the turkey and serve on a platter with the roasted vegetables. 

Recipe and photos reprinted from Barefoot Contessa Parties! by Ina Garten, Copyright © 2007. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.