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Petrini's Ultimate Turkey Recipe

Petrini's was a small, upscale grocery chain in San Francisco area that no longer exists; I really miss it.

They had a printed sheet on how to cook turkey and I've used this with success so I'd like to pass it on.

Remove turkey from the bag. After removing neck and giblets from body cavity (BOTH ENDS), rinse bird with cold water. Pat all over (inside and out) with paper towels. Rub body and neck cavities with salt and, if desired, stuff loosely. Truss neck cavity with metal skewer or string and tie legs tightly to tail.

Rub entire turkey with a paste made of the following:

2 oz. Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Butter (soft)
2 Tablespoons Salt
2 Tablespoons Paprika
2 Tablespoons White Pepper

Place bird in open pan, breast side up. (I put it on a rack; this year, I might try breast side down the first hour.) Add 8 ozs. water and 8 ozs. turkey broth. Place in a 325 oven. (I ALWAYS take a large piece of doubled cheesecloth and wet it with water, wring, then dip into a cube of melted butter and place this over the top of the turkey and tuck inside the pan. Later, I baste with drippings over the cheesecloth. Near the end, I lift up the cheesecloth as I baste so that it won't stick to the turkey. Sometimes, you need more broth in the pan.)

When turkey is half done, heat, DO NOT BOIL, one cup of white wine (I like a dry wine like Chablis) and 3 ozs. brandy and pour over turkey. This is the secret to a marvelous gravy.

There is no need to turn the bird while roasting as it will brown to a rich, golden color, however a piece of foil should be placed loosely over the turkey approx. the last hour of roasting. (I never do this foil step.)

When the turkey is done, the thickest part of the drumstick will feel soft or use a thermometer set at 170 F. Remove from oven, wrap with heavyduty foil. Let stand at least 30 minutes before carving.

(They say to use Bisto Gravy maker -- I bought the stuff and have never used it -- I, instead use a make ahead gravy recipe from Whole Foods that is great -- you just add your defatted juices to it. If anyone wants this, let me know.)

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    1. Please post the make ahead gravy from Whole Foods. I'd love to try it this year. Thanks!

      3 Replies
      1. re: nellybo

        Here is the recipe, paraphrased:

        Turkey Gravy .. Stress Free (Whole Foods)

        The trick is to make the backbone of the gravy ahead of time – while turkey is cooking or a day or two before – then add the drippings later.

        Makes 4 cups (I think most people should make a double batch!!)

        3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
        1/3 cup all purpose flour
        4 cups homemade turkey stock or chicken stock, heated to a simmer
        Pan drippings from one turkey, with the fat poured off
        ½ cup red or white wine (I think white is best)
        Salt & Pepper to taste

        Heat butter in large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming. Then, add the flour while whisking and cook for one minute, whisking constantly.

        Pour in the hot stock, while whisking. Simmer, whisking occasionally for about a minute. Gravy can be made to this point up to two days ahead. Set aside and refrigerate (after it cools off) if not using immediately.

        When you are ready to finish the gravy, reheat it over medium heat. When turkey is done, remove it from the roasting pan. Tilt the pan and pour the fat off, leaving the drippings. Place the roasting pan on the stove burners over medium heat. Pour the wine into the pan with the drippings, stirring and scraping with a wooden spoon to loosen the browned bits. Don’t cook the wine down completely, just cook until alcohol smell dissipates. Pour the wine and loosened browned bits into the warm gravy and cook at a simmer for about 5 – 10 minutes. Season with S & P.

        1. re: walker

          Thanks for posting this. The most stressful part of the meal for me is right before serving; making the gravy and making sure all the side dishes are completed, plated, and hot. This looks delicious and I'll try it this year!

          1. re: nellybo

            Yes -- I never really learned how to make gravy -- all my relatives on my father's side made gravy all the time. I wish my grandmother were still alive so I could write down some of her recipes.

            This make ahead recipe really makes it easy.

      2. Thank's so much. I liked Petrinis. I have been trying to decide how to roast the bird and this sounds great.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rworange

          I know you've been researching turkeys; I've had my best success with Butterballs (under 15 lbs in order to get a hen). Safeway will have fresh and frozen ones .. I've ordered a fresh one for pick up on the 22nd. Last year I used a Kosher turkey from TJ, had to use tweezers to take off a few white feathers (I was warned about that here on CH) but I thought it was great. Another poster thought hers was "gamy." Boy, do I hate gamy (can't even stand the smell of lamb!!) so I'm a bit afraid to try the Kosher one from TJ again.

          I'm going to make stock with turkey wings -- Safeway & WF are charging the same, 2.49 lb, so I'll get from WF since I have to go there anyway. I'll roast the wings before I make the stock. This can be done a couple days ahead.

          Let me know how it all turns out for you. Oh yes, they say to take turkey out of fridge for 30 minutes (or a bit more?) before sticking into oven. Some people say to take out at 150 or 160 but I'm sticking with 170.

        2. Interesting. You don't say what size bird or how long it takes; I imagine quite a long time at only 325. Also, what kind of turkey do you buy? I've never found a reason to baste mine and it's always nice and juicy. Seems like a lot of the more recent advice suggests basting is a waste of time and heat. Anyone else here bother to baste? I'm curious too--if you wrap is tightly with foil while it rests, does the skin stay crisp?

          4 Replies
          1. re: gourmanda

            I think hens are best and I've learned that the way to make sure you get one is to get a turkey that is under 15 lbs. If you need more than this, it's best to cook 2 small ones, maybe one the day before?

            Yes, I've heard that about the basting; I do it a few times.

            I love Butterballs, Safeway here gets them in fresh so I don't have to thaw in fridge for a few days. Last year I got a Kosher from TJ and thought it was great even tho I had to pluck off a few white feathers. Another poster on CH said hers was "gamy." I really dislike gamy and did not want to take a chance on that.

            I can't remember about the skin; I think it's been fine. Maybe I haven't been wrapping that tightly.
            On the turkey pkg, it gives an estimate of the time but I use an inserted thermometer and it seems to take less time than I would expect.

            1. re: gourmanda

              I just did a test run with a 17-lb unbrined but injected bird. 325 for 10 minutes per pound, breast down except for the last hour. Remove when breast meat hits 150F. Temp will climb to 160 or so while resting. Tent very loosely while resting so skin stays crisp. Fully cooked and juicy. Turkey cooks much faster than you think it does, and is cooked much sooner. No basting is necessary.

              1. re: acgold7

                Did you make the paste to smear all over? Did you do the white wine/brandy trick?

                How did you like the turkey?

                1. re: walker

                  I was actually just commenting on the timing. I seasoned with a dry seasoning mix of my own, inside and out. No liquid, but it sounds like a nice idea. I guess you could call mine sort of a "dry run," if you will.

            2. I love the addition of the brandy in the gravy. some people have very heavy hands when pouring the alcohol in and the outcome is booze gravy, who wants that? a once tipsy semi family member poured a 1 cup measuring cup of bourbon in the gravy, the result not at all used or enjoyed.

              appreciate a sharer, thank you for giving us a good amount of knowledge on the often daunting task of perfectly preparing a bird. there's nothing better than a moist bird.