Monday, December 5, 2011

Spice Rubbed Roast Turkey

Few years ago, I saw Rachael Ray making Pressed Herbs and Spices Turkey Breast on TV and ever since then, I have been wanting to try this recipe but never actually got a chance to do so. This year, I decided to give it a try, but instead of using just the turkey breast, I wanted to make a whole turkey for thanksgiving. I've never cooked whole turkey before but have heard enough stories of things that could go wrong, so I know that I need to research more on how to cook the bird without drying it out. I came across Alton Brown's Roast Turkey recipe which seems fairly easy and has many good reviews, so decided to give it a shot. I used both the recipes and came up with this below version.

I'm very pleased with this turkey recipe. It is a little lengthy process but worth every minute and effort, as it was probably the best turkey we've ever tasted.  It was very juicy, tender, tasty and at the same time, the skin was crisp and flavorful. For beginners like me, I would highly recommend the probe thermometer cause with this, you won't over or under cook the meat.  The only thing I would pay attention to is, when the turkey first goes in the oven at 500 degrees F, keep a close eye on it cause with spices, it will brown faster than the original recipe. I put a sheet of foil after 30 minutes of cooking since my bird was already browning enough and I didn't want more color on it. I'm looking forward to re-make this in near future.

Spice Rubbed Roast Turkey

1 (10 to 15 lbs) fresh young turkey – if frozen, thawed

For the brine:
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoon allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
A pinch of dry sage
1 gallon heavily iced water

For spice rub:
1 tablespoon Montreal Seasoning by McCormick
2 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoon coriander powder

For herb and nut paste:
8 sprigs of fresh thyme – stems removed
1/2 cup cilantro
1 cup flat-leaf parsley
1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios

Other ingredients:
1 red apple – sliced
1/2 medium onion – sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Oil to brush on turkey

One day before roasting:
  1. In a pot, combine vegetable stock, kosher salt, brown sugar, black peppercorns, allspice berries and bring it to a boil over medium high heat stirring occasionally. Turn of the heat and add crushed red pepper, fresh thyme and sage; and stir to combine. Let the brine cool completely and refrigerate to chill.
Night before roasting:
  1. Combine the brine and iced water in a large double layered trash bag set inside a foam ice box or a bucket large enough to hold whole turkey.
  2. Prepare turkey by removing all innards and rinse inside and out under cold water.
  3. Immerse the turkey breast side down in the brine and tie the trash bags if using any and weight it down if necessary.
  4. Refrigerate or keep it in a cool place for 8 to 16 hours, turning the turkey once half way through brining
When ready to roast:
  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, combine apple, onion and cinnamon stick with 1 cup of water and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Let this cool a bit, drain and set aside.
  3. Prepare the spice rub by mixing all the spice rub ingredients in a bowl and set aside
  4. In a food processor, combine all the herb and nut paste ingredients and process into a paste and set aside
  5. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse inside and out under cold water. Discard the brine liquid.
  6. Set the turkey on a roasting rack layered over roast pan and pat dry with paper towels.
  7. Loosen up the skin on the breast area with a sharp knife.  Stuff the herb and nut paste between the skin and the meat. Spread it evenly around both breasts area going as deep as you can without breaking the skin.
  8. In the turkey’s cavity, place the apple, onion and cinnamon mixture along with fresh rosemary.
  9. Coat the skin liberally with oil and sprinkle the spice rub mixture all over the bird.
  10. Tuck the wings underneath, tie the legs and roast it in the lowest rack of the oven for 25 - 30 minutes. Check once in between to make sure the skin is not burned.
  11. After 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Insert the probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and set the thermometer alarm to 161 degrees F.  Put a sheet of foil on top to prevent the skin from burning and continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches to 161 degrees F.
  12. My 10 pound bird took me about 2 1/2 hours of roasting time.
  13. Once the bird is cooked, remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.
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  1. thanks for posting. i like all, so i will cook with ur recipies. love sis, maria

  2. Keshu!
    Finally I will try making the turkey adding the extra step… I got all ingredients after visiting 3 stores!! yes……I waited until last minute!
    Will share picture ok =)
    Thanks for sharing your recipies.


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