Maple syrup’s caramely sweetness along with bacon’s smoky notes are the perfect companion flavors for the Thanksgiving turkey. The tasty drippings from the roasted bird become the foundation for a creamy, smoky-sweet gravy.
1 (12-lb.) turkey, patted dry
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup pure maple syrup, divided
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
10 slices applewood-smoked bacon
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1. Heat oven to 350F. Place roasting rack in large shallow roasting pan. Tuck turkey wings behind back; place turkey on rack.
2. Combine butter and 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup in small bowl. Slip fingers between skin and breast to loosen; spread butter mixture under skin over breast. Slip thyme sprigs under skin. Sprinkle turkey inside and out with salt and pepper.
3. Place bacon in crisscross pattern over turkey breast; pour remaining 1/2 cup maple syrup over bacon. Cover breast with foil coated with cooking spray.
4. Bake 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until internal temperature of thickest part of thigh reaches 165°F. to 170°F., removing foil during last 45 minutes to help browning. Remove turkey; cover loosely with foil. Let stand 20 minutes before carving.
5. Meanwhile, whisk half-and-half and flour in small bowl. Skim fat from turkey drippings in roasting pan; place pan over 2 burners. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in half-and-half mixture; cook 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. Serve with turkey.
PER SERVING: 465 calories, 22 g total fat (8 g saturated fat), 50 g protein, 14 g carbohydrate, 150 mg cholesterol, 690 mg sodium, 0 g fiber