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Citrus-Rubbed Turkey with Cider Gravy

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A citrus-salt rub the night before results in a succulent turkey; a sprinkle of paprika adds extra flavor and a deep, dark color.

Cooking Recipe

1 whole turkey (12 to 14 pounds), thawed if frozen, neck and giblets removed
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp grated lemon zest plus 1/2 cup juice (from 4 lemons)
1 tbsp grated orange zest plus 1 cup juice (from 2 oranges)
Coarse salt and pepper
2 stalks celery, cut into thirds
2 carrots, cut into thirds
1 large yellow onion, cut into 6 wedges
4 & 1/2 cups unbaked Bacon-Cornbread Stuffing
1/4 cup paprika, divided
2 cups apple cider
1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups chicken broth, divided
5 tbsp all-purpose flour

1. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Tuck wing tips underneath body and place on a roasting rack in a heavy-bottomed metal roasting pan. Combine thyme, lemon and orange zests, 2 tablespoons plus 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 & 1/2 teaspoons pepper; beginning with underside, sprinkle on turkey, including in large cavity. Refrigerate, uncovered, 8 hours (or overnight).

2. Let turkey sit at room temperature 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove rack and turkey from pan, discard accumulated liquid, and add celery, carrots, onion, and 2 cups water to pan. Return rack and turkey to pan. Wipe any remaining rub from inside with a paper towel and loosely fill large and neck cavities with stuffing. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and evenly sprinkle turkey with 2 tablespoons paprika.

3. Place pan in oven, reduce temperature to 375°F, and roast 25 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring orange and lemon juices, cider, butter, and remaining 2 tablespoons paprika to a simmer over medium.

4. Baste turkey with cider mixture; keep remaining warm over low. Continue roasting, basting turkey with cider mixture every 25 minutes (tent turkey with foil if necessary to prevent overbrowning), 2 to 2 & 1/2 hours. Turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh (avoiding bone) and center of stuffing reads 165°F.

5. Transfer turkey to a platter or cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 30 minutes before scooping out stuffing and carving turkey. Strain pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve and discard solids. Skim fat and return juices to pan. Set pan across two burners, add 1 cup broth, and bring to a simmer over medium, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Whisk together flour and remaining cup broth; add to pan, whisking constantly, until gravy is thickened, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm with carved turkey and stuffing.

Citrus-Rubbed Turkey with Cider Gravy
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