Spice- Rubbed Roast Turkey

Cover recipe from Martha Stewart Living, November 2009
Spice-Rubbed Roast Turkey
TurkeyLiving2There are some cover recipes that rather intimidate me.  Martha Stewart Living is sometimes one of those covers.  Seems like Martha tends to put her prettiest, most fancy recipe on the cover but not necessarily the easiest to make. I consider myself an above-average cook, but I certainly don’t feel very capable of pulling off many of the more gourmet-type recipes.  Challenges are what I live for in the world of food blogging though, and so I’m willing to tackle pretty much anything.   Living will definitely present the more (needed) challenges for me as I navigate this new covers blog.

November’s cover of Living features a turkey dinner.  I chose to make the Herb-Roasted Turkey as well as the Shiitake Mushroom Stuffing and Aleppo Pepper Gravy to go along with it.  I’ve only made a couple of turkeys in all my years, and honestly I’ve never made one without my mother peeking over my shoulder to make sure I’m doing it right.  Mom wasn’t around for this one… I did it all by myself.  The directions were very clear and easy to follow for each of the recipes, and my turkey turned out to be a moist and tender success.  That’s all you can hope for in a turkey, right?  I’m not sure the basting liquid did much beyond keeping the turkey moist.  We didn’t really taste any flavor related to the basting on the turkey itself. 
TurkingLiving1Spice-Rubbed Roast Turkey
Source:  Martha Stewart Living, November 2009

Ingredients:
1 whole fresh turkey (20 to 24 pounds)
sausage (or shiitake mushroom) stuffing (recipe here)
2 naval oranges, halved
coarse salt
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. ground Aleppo pepper or paprika (plus more, if desired)
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup dry white wine
persimmons, for garnish (optional)
fresh sage, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Rinse inside and outside of turkey; pat dry with paper towels.  Transfer to a large roasting pan.  Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.  Tuck wings under turkey.  Fill cavity loosely with stuffing, and tie legs together with kitchen twine.  Squeeze 1 orange over the turkey.  Season outside of turkey generously with salt, and sprinkle with pepper (or paprika).  Gently rub seasonings into turkey.
2.  Heat juice of remaining orange, the butter, and wine in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter melts.  Roast turkey, basting every half hour with melted-butter mixture until thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F., 3 1/2 to 4 hours.  Halfway through, rotate pan and cover with foil.
3.  Remove stuffing and transfer to a 5×9-inch loaf pan.  Bake until stuffing reaches 165 degrees F., about 30 minutes more.  Meanwhile, let turkey stand for 30 minutes.  Transfer to a platter; reserve pan juices in roasting pan for Aleppo pepper gravy (recipe follows).  Carve turkey.  Garnish with persimmons and sage, if desired.

Aleppo Pepper Gravy
Makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups

Ingredients:
Pan juices from Spice-Rubbed Roast Turkey, in roasting pan
1 1/4 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock, plus more if needed
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 ounce (2 Tbsp.) unsalted butter

Directions:
1.  Pour pan juices through a fine sieve into a glass measuring cup, and skim off fat.  Let stand for 5 minutes, then skim off fat again. 
2.  Return pan juices to roasting pan.  Set pan across 2 burners over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, and cook, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, for 2 to 3 minutes.
3.  Whisk together 1/2 cup stock and the flour in a small bowl until smooth.  Add remaining 3/4 cup stock to pan juices.  Bring to a simmer.  Whisk in flour mixture, and return to a simmer.  Cook until mixture thickens, 4 to 5 minutes.  Add more stock if gravy is too thick or too salty.  Whisk in butter to finish.  Serve warm.

Notes from Culinary Covers:
*My wings would not tuck under my turkey.  I’m not quite sure what is meant by that.
*I did not have Aleppo Pepper so I used Paprika instead.  If you’re not familiar with Aleppo Pepper, Living describes it as a Syrian pepper that is mildly spicy, smoky and complex.  The recipe calls for a generous amount because most of it ends up the gravy, giving it a mysterious richness.  I’m going to pick up some of that Aleppo Pepper from Penzey’s since I keep coming across recipes that call for it.  Paprika is a bit tricky to “rub” into the turkey (I just kind of patted it on).
*I had to put foil on my turkey less than half-way through as the skin started getting too dark.
*The stuffing is a new favorite for us, and I featured it on my other website today:  www.RecipeGirl.com/blog .
*The gravy was easy to make, but I wonder how different the flavor would be if I used Aleppo Pepper instead of Paprika.
*If you’re new to turkey roasting (like me), this recipe is very easy to follow.  It wasn’t the daunting gourmet recipe I was expecting from this magazine. 
*Trying to photograph a roasted turkey while you’re scrambling around trying to last-minute prepare all of the side dishes that go with it is not an easy task!
*The persimmons that garnish the turkey in my photograph came from San Diego’s Specialty Produce.

Did this recipe deserve the cover?  Sure, although I get tired of seeing turkeys on November covers… it seems like that’s what America wants this time of year.  The turkey itself was fabulous, and the stuffing & gravy were too.

Lori is the founder of RecipeGirl.com. She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at RecipeBoy.com.

6 Responses to “Spice- Rubbed Roast Turkey”

  1. 1

    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — November 16, 2009 @ 8:38 am

    Absolutely beautiful! Looks like a delicious turkey. Glad you tackled this one… I agree, the MS Living covers do look daunting. After all, it is MARTHA, who can somehow make everything look perfect with very little effort. I think yours looks equally as good, if not better!

  2. 2

    megan — November 16, 2009 @ 8:55 am

    Your turkey look beautiful! Martha has nothing on you! It makes we want to make a one but were doing Prime Rib. But if I were doing a turkey…

  3. 3

    san — November 16, 2009 @ 10:27 am

    om!…..nice

  4. 4

    Wendy — November 16, 2009 @ 3:23 pm

    Gorgeous turkey! You nailed it.

  5. 5

    noble pig — November 16, 2009 @ 6:11 pm

    Wow, it came out beautiful! Kudos!

  6. 6

    nina — November 17, 2009 @ 4:03 am

    That is one beautiful looking Thanksgiving bird…I could easily get “stuffed” on that!!

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