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This Five Spice Roast Turkey with Giblet Onion Gravy is your next Thanksgiving staple. A slightly unconventional marinade yields a super flavorful bird.
Author: Sarah
Recipe type: Chicken and Poultry
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8-10
For the turkey:
  • One 14-15 pound young turkey
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon sand ginger powder or galangal powder
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 6 medium yellow onions, cut into wedges
For the gravy:
  • The giblets, roasted onions, and drippings from the roasting pan
  • Butter (if needed)
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  1. Two to three days before roasting, start thawing your turkey in the refrigerator. On the day before you plan to roast it, make the marinade by combining the garlic, salt, soy sauces, wine, sugar, white pepper, five spice powder, sand ginger powder, and sesame oil in the food processor. Pulse until you can’t see any more big chunks of garlic in the mixture.
  2. Spread out the onion wedges in the bottom of your roasting pan. The onions will serve as the “rack” that the turkey will sit on.
  3. Remove the turkey from the package. Remove the neck and the giblets from the turkey cavity and give the bird a good rinse with cold water. Pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels, and lay it breast side down in the pan. Spread half of your marinade all over the bottom side of the turkey, making sure you cover every surface and crevice (including the cavity). Flip the bird over so it’s laying breast side up, and spread the other half of the marinade over this side of the turkey. Also spread some of the marinade on the neck and giblets, and add those to the pan as well.
  4. Cover the roasting pan tightly with plastic and allow the turkey to marinate breast side up overnight.
  5. The next day, allow the turkey to sit out on the counter at room temperature for about 2-4 hours to warm up (you don’t want to transfer the turkey directly from the refrigerator to the oven, which may result in uneven cooking). Tie the legs together with kitchen string.
  6. hours before you plan to serve the turkey, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven. Flip the turkey breast side down, and place in the middle of the oven. Roast for 30 minutes. Baste the turkey with any pan drippings, and then rotate the roasting pan 180 degrees so that the turkey cooks evenly. Roast for another 30 minutes.
  7. By now, your turkey has been roasting at 425 degrees F for 1 hour. Turn the heat down to 325 degrees F, and flip the turkey breast side up. Baste the turkey with the pan drippings, brushing off any onions or other bits that may be stuck to the breast. If the roasting pan is dry, add ½ cup of water to prevent the onions or the pan drippings from burning.
  8. Roast the turkey for another 75-90 minutes, basting once or twice, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165-170 degrees F and any juices run clear (not pink). During this time, twist the turkey pan 180 degrees if the turkey is cooking unevenly (ovens vary and some do tend to have hot spots). If the top of the turkey starts to get too dark, place a large piece of foil loosely over the top of the turkey to protect it from burning.
  9. Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes, covered loosely with foil. After this initial resting time, transfer the turkey to a cutting board or serving plate, keeping it tented with the foil.
  10. Using a slotted spoon, remove any burnt bits or impurities from the roasting pan. Next, scoop out the onions and giblets, and transfer to a blender. If you don’t like giblets, you can alternatively shred the neck meat and add that to the blender, but this is totally optional if you want to serve the neck along with the turkey instead! Pour the remaining pan juices and fat into a large gravy separator and set aside.
  11. It’s time to make the gravy. Blend the onions and giblets (or neck meat, if using) until smooth. In a saucepan over medium heat, add the turkey fat. You should have about a quarter cup of fat. If not, add enough butter to approximate ¼ cup of fat.
  12. Whisk in ¼ cup all purpose flour to form a roux, and cook for about 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Turn the heat down if necessary to prevent burning.
  13. Whisk in the paprika, the contents of the blender, and the juices from the roasting pan. Gravy isn’t an exact science––you’ll have to adjust according to how thick or thin you like your gravy! If the gravy still looks too thick, add more chicken stock until it reaches your desired consistency. Continue to simmer the gravy for about 2 minutes, whisking constantly.
  14. At this point, add the dark soy sauce. This ingredient is mostly for color––I add as much as I need to get the rich color I’m looking for. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste.
  15. By now, your turkey should be fully rested. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy on the side.