1 turkey, about 15 pounds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 orange, quartered
1 lemon, quartered
3 onions, roughly chopped, divided
5 garlic cloves, smashed
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2 bay leaves
½ bunch parsley
1 bunch thyme
5 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
5 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large bulb fennel, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup Cognac
½ cup chicken broth
Chicken broth for deglazing, plus about 6 cups
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup diced onion
¼ cup diced carrots
¼ cup diced fennel
1 cup Cognac
¼ cup orange juice
Drippings from the turkey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
For the turkey: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the giblets and neck from the cavity of the turkey. Rinse and pat the turkey dry.
Liberally sprinkle the outside of the turkey and the inner cavity with salt and pepper. Massage the softened butter onto the turkey. Stuff the cavity of the turkey with the orange, lemon, 1/3 of the onion, plus the garlic, bay leaves, parsley and thyme. Tuck the wing tips under and loosely truss the legs.
Place the remaining onions, along with the carrots, parsnips and fennel, in a large roasting pan. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil and Cognac.
Place the turkey on top of the vegetable mixture. Tent the breast with foil.Photo: John Lee, Special To The Chronicle
Place the turkey in the oven. Rotate the roasting pan 180 degrees every 30 minutes to ensure the turkey cooks evenly. Roast for about 1 hour, remove the foil and baste the turkey with ½ cup of broth. Return to oven and roast, basting with pan drippings every 20 minutes, using more stock as needed.
Start checking internal temperature after about 1 hour by inserting an instant-read thermometer in the inner meatiest part of the thigh, not touching the bone. If legs or breast begin to get too brown, cover loosely with foil. Roast until internal thigh temperature reaches 165 degrees. Total roasting time should be about 3 to 3¾ hours. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and let rest for at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving.
For the Cognac jus: While the turkey is resting, make the jus. Strain the pan drippings (discard the roasted root vegetables or serve alongside the turkey). Deglaze the roasting pan with chicken broth — bring it to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon and adding a little liquid as needed to incorporate the browned bits. Add this to the strained drippings. Skim off any fat with a spoon, or refrigerate, then remove and discard the fat that congeals on top.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. When the butter starts to bubble, add the onion, carrots and fennel, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Cognac and cook until reduced by half. Add the 6 cups chicken broth and orange juice. Cook until the jus thickens slightly, then whisk in some of the reserved drippings to taste. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more drippings, salt and pepper, if desired. Simmer the jus a few minutes more then add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to taste. Keep warm until ready to serve.