1 12-lb Whole Turkey, fresh or frozen (thawed)
As needed salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lemon, cut in 2 wedges
7 Large fresh sage leaves
2 Slices whole wheat sandwich bread
1/2 Granny Smith apple, quartered lengthwise
1/2 onion, quartered lengthwise
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 c water
1 c dry sherry
1 c apple cider (sparkling preferred)
1/3 c all purpose flour
2+ c Turkey Stock
As needed for garnish assorted fresh sage leaves
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Rinse turkey and pat dry inside and out. Season turkey inside and out with salt and pepper.
Place 1 lemon wedge, 1 sage leaf and 1 bread slice into neck cavity. Fold neck skin under body and fasten with a skewer.
Fill body cavity with quartered apple and onion, 3 sage leaves and remaining lemon wedge and bread slice. Truss turkey.
Rub turkey with remaining sage. Spread turkey with butter and arrange on rack in roasting pan.
Roast turkey in middle of preheated 425 degree F oven 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees F and baste turkey with pan juices. Add water to roasting pan and roast turkey, basting every 20 minutes. Continue to roast 2-1/2 to 3 hours more, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F in the thigh and the buttonhead of the timer "pops" up.
Transfer turkey to a heated platter, reserving juices in roasting pan; discard string. Keep turkey warm, covered loosely with foil.
Sherried Cider Gravy
Skim fat from pan juices, reserving 1/4 cup fat.
On range top, deglaze pan with sherry over moderately high heat, scraping up brown bits. Stir in cider.
Bring sherry mixture to a boil and remove pan from heat.
In a heavy saucepan, whisk together reserved fat and flour and cook roux over moderately low heat. Whisk together for about 3 minutes.
Add sherry mixture and 2 cups stock in a stream, whisking to prevent lumping. Simmer, whisking occasionally for about 10 minutes.
Whisk in additional stock to thin gravy if desired.
Season gravy with salt and pepper and transfer to a heated gravy boat.
Garnish turkey with sage.
NOTE: Provides 16-17 servings at 6 ounces per portion.