2 cups apple cider

    1/3 cup real maple syrup

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram

    2 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest

    3/4 cup butter

    salt and ground black pepper to taste

    14 pounds whole turkey, neck and giblets reserved

    2 cups chopped onion

    1 cup chopped celery

    1 cup coarsely chopped carrots

    2 cups chicken stock

    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

    1 bay leaf

    2 tablespoons apple brandy (optional)

 
 Boil apple cider and maple syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat

 until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat and mix in

 1/2 of the thyme and marjoram and all of the lemon zest. Add the butter,

 and whisk until melted. Add salt and ground pepper to taste. Cover and

 refrigerate until cold (syrup can be made up to 2 days ahead).

  Preheat oven to 375F. Place oven rack in the lowest third of oven.

 Wash and dry turkey, and place in a large roasting pan. Slide hand under

 skin of the breast to loosen. Rub 1/2 cup of the maple butter mix under

 the breast skin. If planning on stuffing turkey, do so now. Rub 1/4 cup

 of the maple butter mixture over the outside of the turkey. With kitchen

 string, tie legs of turkey together loosely.

 
 Arrange the chopped onion, chopped celery, and chopped carrot around the

 turkey in the roasting pan. If desired, the neck and giblets may be added

 to the vegetables. Sprinkle the remaining thyme and marjoram over the

 vegetables, and pour the chicken stock into the pan.


  Roast turkey 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce oven temperature to

 350F, and cover turkey loosely with foil. Continue to roast, about 3 to 4

 hours unstuffed or 4 to 5 hours stuffed, until the internal temperature

 of the thigh reaches 180F and stuffing reaches 165F. Transfer turkey to a

 platter, and cover with foil. Reserve pan mixture for gravy. Allow turkey

 to sit about 25 minutes before removing stuffing and carving.

  To Make Gravy: Strain pan juices into a measuring cup. Spoon fat from juices.

 Add enough chicken stock to make 3 cups. Transfer liquid to a heavy saucepan

 and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, mix reserved maple butter mixture with

 flour to form a paste, and whisk into the broth. Stir in thyme, bay leaf, and

 apple brandy. Boil until reduced and slightly thickened. Season with salt and

 pepper to taste.