Whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other special occasion, try something different this year for your holiday turkey, like this scrumptious pomegranate turkey with its incredible pomegranate gravy. Find more of my pomegranate recipes.
Thanksgiving is almost here and I have a tremendous amount of things to be thankful for. But besides taking time to count my blessings, to be with family and enjoy our time together, I am so looking forward to turkey and the fixings.
I love LOVE the Thanksgiving meal. I can’t get enough turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce or the countless number of veggies I like to eat with the meal. Unfortunately, I don’t get to prepare the big meal for the whole family. Another group of relatives get this honor. I know, I know, I’m nuts! I should be happy to not slave away for days to prepare this meal.
Preparing your pomegranate turkey
So let’s talk turkey! We are starting with a fully thawed turkey. I have some tips on thawing and roasting turkey, if you are a beginner to turkey roasting. Your turkey typically has the neck and gizzards in its cavity, so be sure to remove them and reserve them for later. Hello pomegranate gravy!
Pat your turkey down with a paper towel and rub it down with the herb butter you prepared. And I mean all over that entire turkey. One note, I have rubbed a turkey down with olive oil, too. It is a great alternative if you are avoiding dairy.
Stuff the turkey with onion, carrots, celery and sprigs of thyme and season the whole thing with salt and pepper. And that’s all the prep work your turkey needs. You’re ready to get it in the oven.
How to long do I roast a whole turkey
Place your turkey breast side up onto the rack of the roasting pan and roast at 325°F until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the turkey breast reaches 170°F. How long is that?
The general rule of thumb for roasting an unstuffed turkey is 13-minutes per pound, but a thermometer is the best method of testing the turkey’s doneness and to insure a moist turkey. So estimate the time using the 13-minute rule of thumb, but use a meat thermometer to determine when the turkey is really done.
This is super important: don’t skimp on the meat thermometer. It’s not expensive to buy and you can roast with it worry free. If your turkey is browning too much and you don’t want it to burn, place a piece of foil loosely over it.
How to make pomegranate gravy
While the turkey was cooking, you will cook the turkey neck and gizzards in a small pot and cover with water. Let it simmer like this for about an hour and then reserve. Once the turkey is done, it does need to rest for 30 minutes before you start to carve it up and serve it.
This is the time to make the pomegranate gravy. You will start by melting sugar in a small pot and it starts to turn a deep golden caramel color. Carefully add the pomegranate juice and whisk it in with the sugar. When you have a syrup consistency, remove your pomegranate molasses from heat.
You will use the strained pan juices and reserved turkey broth for the base of the gravy. Transfer your turkey to a cutting board or serving dish and straddle the turkey pan over two burners. You want those bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan for your gravy! You will add some turkey broth to the pan as you deglaze it and remove the bits.
For the pomegranate gravy, instead of butter as your base, use some of the reserved turkey fat and whisk in flour. You will slowly add some turkey broth to the golden roux until a gravy starts to form. Whisk constantly to remove any lumps. Whisk in the pomegranate molasses and the gravy is now ready.
Don’t worry, I have detailed instructions in the recipe below. But what you will have is a delicious slightly fruity pomegranate gravy that gives a little sweet and sourness to your roast turkey!
- 15 lb whole turkey
- 4 ½ cup water
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 TBS chopped fresh thyme
- 1 TBS salt
- 1 ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, quartered
- 2 ribs of celery, halved
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup pomegranate juice
- 6 ½ TBS all-purpose flour
- 1 TBS pomegranate juice
- Preheat oven to 325ºF.
- Rinse with water and Pat turkey dry with paper towels.
- Remove gizzards and neck, place in a small saucepan and cover with 3 ½ cup water.
- Simmer for 1 hour to create broth for gravy.
- Discard neck and gizzards, and reserve broth.
- In a small bowl combine butter and 1 TBS chopped fresh thyme.
- Generously cover turkey with herbed butter. Make sure you butter under the skin and between the different parts of the turkey.
- Season inside the turkey cavity with salt and pepper.
- Stuff chopped onion, carrots, celery and 4 sprigs of thyme in cavity of turkey
- Tie drumsticks together with kitchen twine and tuck wing tips in.
- Put turkey on rack in a large roasting pan and roast, basting with pan juices every 20 minutes.
- If turkey is browning too fast, cover loosely with foil.
- Roast until meat thermometer inserted into fleshy part of a thigh (do not touch bone) registers 170°F, 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours.
- Carefully tilt turkey so any juices from inside large cavity run into roasting pan.
- Transfer turkey to a platter and let stand, loosely covered, 30 minutes (temperature of thigh meat will rise to 180°F).
- Make gravy while turkey stands.
- In a dry 1-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, cook sugar until it begins to melt.
- Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar is melted into a deep golden caramel.
- Carefully add pomegranate juice. Be careful as mixture will bubble and steam vigorously.
- Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until caramel is dissolved.
- Remove syrup from heat.Pomegranate syrup can be made 1 day ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature. You can also purchase pomegranate molasses at middle eastern stores.
- Pour pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve into fat separator.
- Skim off fat and reserve ¼ cup of it.
- Pour juices into reserved turkey broth.
- Add enough reserved turkey stock to pan juices to total 3 ½ cups liquid. If not enough, add chicken stock or water.
- Straddle roasting pan across 2 burners, then add 1 cup water.
- Deglaze pan by boiling over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits for 1 minute.
- Pour through fine-mesh sieve into reserved turkey broth.
- In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, whisk together flour with reserved fat.
- Cook roux over moderately low heat, whisking, until pale golden, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Add reserved turkey broth to mixture in a stream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps.
- Bring to a boil, whisking, and add pomegranate syrup, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper and stir in 1 TBS pomegranate juice.
- Remove string from turkey and discard onion and thyme from cavity.
- Serve turkey with gravy on the side.
Recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine, November 2004
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1222Total Fat: 51gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 644mgSodium: 1131mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 11gProtein: 164g