- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To avoid any risk of Thanksgiving dinner not being indulgent enough, we created this over-the-top turkey and gravy affectionately dubbed “bacon bird.”

The goal was to find an easy way to infuse a turkey with deep flavor while also keeping it moist and create richly savory pan drippings for gravy. If we could get a crispy skin in the bargain, all the better.

We didn’t want to brine, as many people lack the time and space. Spice rubs are nice, but we wanted the flavor taken to another level - which is how we came up with the idea of wrapping the turkey in bacon.

By wrapping the bacon under and over the skin, we not only enrich the meat with the seriously good smoky flavor of bacon, but we also effectively baste the bird constantly during cooking (thanks to the fat rendering off the bacon as it cooks).

This also essentially deep-fries the skin in place. And as for the pan drippings for gravy, well, anything infused with that much bacon is amazing.

Bacon-wrapped roasted turkey with pan gravy

From start to finish, this recipe takes 4 hours. It makes a 12- to 14-pound turkey with gravy

12- to 14-pound turkey

2 large yellow onions, cut into wedges

1 1/2 pounds sliced bacon

1/2 cup white wine

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup water

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Place the turkey on a roasting rack set in a large roasting pan. Fill the pan with the onions.

Carefully separate the turkey’s skin from the flesh, trying to avoid breaking the skin. Work strips of bacon under the skin, running them along the tops of the breasts. Three to 4 slices should fit on each breast. Pat the skin back into place over the bacon.

Place several strips of bacon inside the cavity of the bird, unless you plan to stuff it. Wrap several strips of bacon around each leg, interlacing them to keep them in place. Lay strips across the top of the whole bird, weaving them, if desired.

Roast for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until the breast registers 160 degrees and the thickest part of the thigh reaches 170 degrees. Allow the turkey to rest in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer the turkey to a serving platter and let it rest another 10 minutes.

Add the white wine to the roasting pan and place over medium heat on the stovetop. Heat, using a silicone spatula to scrap up any bits stuck to the bottom. Strain the mixture into a small saucepan. Season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, mix the flour and water.

Bring the drippings in the saucepan to a boil over medium-high. Slowly pour in half the flour mixture, whisking constantly. Return to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Adjust the thickness of the gravy with more of the flour mixture or water until you get the desired consistency. Be sure to simmer for several minutes after each addition of flour.

Serve the gravy with the turkey.


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