Maple Roast Turkey

2 C. apple cider
1/3 C. real maple syrup
2-1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
2 Tbs. chopped fresh marjoram
1-1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
3/4 C. butter, softened
Salt and pepper to taste
1 (12 pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets reserved
2 C. chopped onion
1-1/2 C. chopped celery
1-1/2 C. chopped carrots
3 C. chicken broth
1/4 C. all-purpose flour
1 bay leaf
1/2 C. apple brandy

Combine apple cider and maple syrup in a saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking until reduced to 1/2 C., then remove pan from heat.

Stir in 1 Tbs., thyme, 1 tablespoon marjoram, and lemon zest. Stir in butter until melted, and season with salt and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate until cold.

Place turkey on a rack set in a roasting pan. Reserve 1/4 C. maple butter for gravy, and rub the remaining maple butter under the skin of the breast and over the outside of turkey. Arrange onion, celery, carrots turkey neck and giblets around the turkey. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon thyme and 1 tablespoon marjoram over vegetables. Pour 2 C. broth into pan.

Roast turkey for 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Cover entire turkey loosely with foil. Continue roasting for about 2 1/2 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 180 degrees F. Transfer turkey to platter, and let stand 30 minutes.

Strain the pan juices into a large measuring C., and then remove any excess fat. Add enough chicken broth to pan juices to measure 3 cups. Transfer liquid to a saucepan, and bring to boil.

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 C. maple butter and 1/3 C. flour until smooth. Whisk flour and butter mixture into broth mixture. Stir in remaining thyme and the bay leaf. Boil until reduced to sauce consistency, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix in apple brandy, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste.