Maple-Bacon Turkey with Creamy Maple Gravy

Maple syrup’s caramely sweetness along with bacon’s smoky notes are the perfect companion flavors for the Thanksgiving turkey. The tasty drippings from the roasted bird become the foundation for a creamy, smoky-sweet gravy.

1 (12-lb.) turkey, patted dry
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, divided
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
10 slices applewood-smoked bacon
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place roasting rack in large shallow roasting pan. Tuck turkey wings behind back; place turkey on rack.

2. Combine butter and 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup in small bowl. Slip fingers between skin and breast to loosen; spread butter mixture under skin over breast. Slip thyme sprigs under skin. Sprinkle turkey inside and out with salt and pepper.

3. Place bacon in crisscross pattern over turkey breast; pour remaining 1/2 cup maple syrup over bacon. Cover breast with foil coated with cooking spray.

4. Bake 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until internal temperature of thickest part of thigh reaches 165°F. to 170°F., removing foil during last 45 minutes to help browning. Remove turkey; cover loosely with foil. Let stand 20 minutes before carving.

5. Meanwhile, whisk half-and-half and flour in small bowl. Skim fat from turkey drippings in roasting pan; place pan over 2 burners. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in half-and-half mixture; cook 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. Serve with turkey.

8 servings

PER SERVING: 465 calories, 22 g total fat (8 g saturated fat), 50 g protein, 14 g carbohydrate, 150 mg cholesterol, 690 mg sodium, 0 g fiber

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