Even though he's lived in Los Angeles for 11 years, Lee Hefter gravitates to people from the East Coast, who, like him, might have seen the fall foliage every year and watched maple syrup being tapped. "When you grow up with these memories," he says, "you want to share them." He thinks adding maple syrup to gravy makes it go better with all the traditional Thanksgiving side dishes.Plus: Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide
Roast the bird for 20 minutes per pound for a stuffed turkey and 16 minutes per pound for an unstuffed one. The bird is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh registers between 160° and 180° and the juices run clear. The USDA specifies that cooking poultry to 180° will kill all bacteria that can cause illness. Remove the turkey from the oven when its temperature is 10 degrees lower than desired; the temperature will rise by 5 to 10 degrees as the bird rests.
You'll need plenty of turkey stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth and roasting pan juices to make enough gravy. To get lots of pan juices, roast your turkey at 350° and baste with some stock; if the bird does not seem to brown adequately, you can always raise the oven temperature during the last half hour for faster browning. If your gravy is too thin, simply make a smooth paste with equal parts flour and unsalted butter, a mixture known in French as beurre manié (mon-YAY). Bring the gravy to a boil and whisk in bits of the paste until you get the thickness you desire. If your gravy seems too thick, gradually whisk in more stock.