Friday, December 3, 2010

Salted Roast Turkey with Orange and Asian Spices

Over the years, I've posted several good Thanksgiving Day type meals (which in my family also translated to good Christmas day meals because the food served at the two meals seem to be amazingly similar. Maybe that has to do with free turkey my parents manage to procure every year for Christmas). However, I don't think I have many turkey recipes floating around out there.

My husband doesn't like turkey. There, I've said it. In fact, the year we hosted Thanksgiving and I was pregnant with my middle child, we ate beef tenderloin with chimichurri sauce because I couldn't stand poultry. My husband was thrilled and thought that was probably our best Thanksgiving meal ever.

However, I insist on turkey. I don't love eating turkey--I love the leftover products that come from turkey. I am always left with several cups of leftover turkey, which is perfect for pot pies on a cold winters' evening (ok, cold in Texas terms) or enchiladas. The real bonus for me though is the turkey stock. Because it is from the turkey I roasted (instead of just boiling some chicken expressly for that purpose), the flavor is INCREDIBLE. I got over 5 quarts of stock off of this turkey which will make wonderful soups all winter long. Turkey truly is the gift that keeps on giving, to sound cliche.

Given the above two opinions, I try to find flavorful recipes that will keep a turkey moist. The past two years, I have made this recipe. Curtis hasn't complained too loudly, which I take as an compliment given the meal. The flavors make a superb stock. I allowed myself 4 hours for the turkey to roast and sit before serving, which was plenty of time, making a noon Thanksgiving lunch very feasible.

Salted Roast Turkey with Orange and Asian Spices
adapted just slightly from Bon Appetit

Spiced Salt
2 whole star anise
2 t Szechuan peppercorns
1 t whole cloves
1 t whole coriander seeds
1 t fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick, broken into 3 pieces
1/3 c plus 1 T coarse kosher salt
1 large orange, peel removed in long strips and finely chopped (about 2 T) (reserve orange for another use, like eating plain!)

1 14 - 16 lb turkey, reserve neck, heart, and gizzard for roasting
5 large green onions, chopped
1 whole large orange, coarsely chopped with peel
1/4 c fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick, broken into 3 pieces
2 T soy sauce
2 T light molasses
1/2 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 c or more of water

Coarsely grind first five ingredients of spiced salt in a spice mill (or pulverize in a food processor---it won't be very fine in the food processor, but I had more success with that than a hand-held mortar and pestle). Transfer to a small bowl. Coarsely grind cinnamon stick and add to spices. Mix in coarse salt. Stir in orange peel.

Rinse turkey, inside and out, but do not pat dry. Pull any fat pads away from main cavity and neck cavity of turkey, wrap, chill, and reserve for roasting. Place turkey in a roasting bag. Sprinkle inside and out with spiced salt. Close bag. Place on baking sheet and refrigerate 18 - 24 hours.

On day of roasting, mix green onions, orange, ginger, star anise, and cinnamon stick in a medium bowl. Mix soy sauce and molasses in a small bowl, reserve for glaze at end of roasting. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat very dry this time. Divide chopped onion mixture between main and neck cavities. Fold neck skin under and secure with skewer(s). Tuck wing tips under. Tie legs together loosely if that has not already been done (my turkey's legs came already tied together). Place turkey on rack set in large roasting pan. Spread butter all over turkey. Place reserved fat pads, heart, neck, and gizzard in roasting pan. Pour in 2 c water.

Roast turkey minutes on a rack set at the lowest position of preheated 325 degrees oven. After 45 minutes, baste with pan juices. Continue to roast until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh registers 156 - 170 degrees. Every 45 minutes of roasting, baste turkey. If turkey starts too brown, tent with foil. Add water to the pan by cupfuls if the pan starts looking dry. Brush turkey with soy sauce glaze twice during the last 30 minutes of baking. The turkey should bake 3 3/4 hours to 4 1/4 hours total. Transfer roasted turkey to platter and tent loosely with foil until you are ready to carve and serve, at least 30 - 45 minutes. Reserve roasting pan juices for gravy.

Timeline for turkey roasting (I wish the recipe I had followed had laid it out this way, so I am)

0 minutes: Turkey enters preheated 325 degrees oven.
45 minutes: Baste turkey.
1 1/2 hours: Baste turkey
2 1/4 hours: Baste turkey
3 hours: Baste turkey
3 1/4 hours - 3 3/4 hours (take temp of turkey at 3 hours, if you are getting close to 165, start glazing): Brush glaze over top of turkey
3 1/2 hours- 4 hours: Brush glaze over top turkey again
3 3/4 hours- 4 1/4 hours: Remove turkey from oven and tent with foil to keep heat in
as early as 4 1/4 hours or as late as 5 hours: Serve and eat the turkey.

1 comment:

Davene said...


It's SO good to hear from you!!! I'm glad you stumbled across my blog and commented so that I could find you. :)

I'm going to stick your blog into my Google Reader so I can see your new posts. All these delicious recipes and lovely pictures are really making me hungry!! :)