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December 31, 2010

Chile-Rubbed Roast Turkey aka Turkey Heaven!

I'm going to apologize in advance for the shoddy photos - I used my phone thinking it would be the same. It's obviously not.

I discovered this recipe when I was searching for a brine recipe for Thanksgiving and just knew that I had to bookmark it and save it for later. I don't know about you, but although I love holiday food, I really start craving SPICE right after Christmas. Too much starch and ham and sausage and meatballs and....well, you get the picture.

I got a little impulsive around Thanksgiving and bought 3 turkeys! They were such a great price and I had room in my freezer at the time...so I had that going for me. I adapted the recipe only slightly because I had forgotten my list when I got to the store and so bought guajillo peppers instead of the pasilla. They're close enough I guess, or maybe this is even better because I'm absent minded....either way, you should totally make this. It's SO SO good - and although I used all the leftovers to make a mad amount of tamales, (recipe to come), they could also be used to make some killer enchiladas! In fact, I froze the rest of the gravy to use as a base for enchiladas that I'll probably make with chicken next week - I'll let you know how that goes.

p.s. My husband had THIRDS of this - he was pretty leery at first, but everyone loved it, even picky little baby Moo who NEVER eats dinner unless we have pizza...

Chile-Rubbed Roast Turkey

6 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
30 cloves garlic (5 finely chopped) - (yes, this seems like way too much, but it mellows and is lovely, I promise)
1/3 cup orange juice - I used fresh squeezed from about 2 naval oranges
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. honey 
1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
1  12 lb. turkey
1 large onion, quartered
1 orange, quartered
1/2 cup red wine
2 tbsp. butter
4 cups turkey or chicken broth - I used low sodium Pacific Natural - it's my favorite to buy when I don't have any of my own in the freezer.
1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 3 tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro

1. In a 10" cast-iron skillet over high heat, toast chiles, turning once, until fragrant, about 30 - 60 seconds per side. Transfer to a small bowl and cover with 1 cup boiling water; let soak until soft, 20 minutes. 

2. Transfer chiles and their liquid to a blender along with 25 cloves garlic, orange juice, oil, honey, 1 tbsp. salt, and peppercorns and purée until smooth, about 2 minutes. Set chile rub aside. 

3. Heat oven to 475° and place rack in bottom third of oven. Season inside of turkey with salt. Stuff the turkey with the oranges and onions and then pour the rub all over the turkey. 

Transfer the turkey breast side up to a roasting pan.  Roast for 30 minutes; lower heat to 325° and cook for 30 minutes more. Remove turkey from oven and, using kitchen towels to protect your hands, flip turkey breast side down. Roast, basting every 45 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh but not touching the bone registers 165°, about 3 hours total for a 12 lb turkey - mine was about 10.5 lbs and so only took 2.5 hours. Lower oven to 150°. Transfer turkey, breast side up, to a baking sheet; return to oven to keep warm. Remove turkey from oven 15 minutes before serving.

3. Meanwhile, add wine to roasting pan and heat over high heat. Scrape up any brown bits; cook, stirring, until mixture has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Set a sieve over a bowl; strain liquid and discard solids. Put liquid into freezer and leave for 30 minutes. Skim and discard fat; set liquid aside. Melt butter in a 12" skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 5 cloves of minced garlic; cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add broth and reserved liquid; turn up heat to medium high and boil to reduce by half, about 15 minutes. Whisk in cornstarch mixture; bring back to a boil and cook for 2 minutes; strain through a sieve into a 1-qt. saucepan. Stir in nutmeg and cilantro and season gravy with salt and pepper. Carve turkey and serve with the gravy.

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