Achiote-Rubbed Roast Turkey

From DAISY'S HOLIDAY COOKING by Daisy Martinez with Chris Styler. Copyright (c) 2010 by Daisy Martinez. Reprinted by permission of Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Achiote-Rubbed Roast Turkey

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    One 12- to 14-pound turkey (preferably free-range and/or organic) 4 cloves garlic, peeled
    1/3 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons salt
    1 tablespoon achiote seeds 1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns


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    • 1

      Make the manchamanteles up to 3 days in advance.

    • 2

      Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey. Save them for broth. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold water and drain off as much water as possible. Blot the turkey dry inside and out with a wad of paper towels.

    • 3

      Make the achiote rub and season the turkey: Heat the olive oil and achiote seeds in a small skillet over low heat until the seeds are sizzling and the oil begins to darken. Let the seeds sizzle for 1 minute, then strain the oil into a small heatproof bowl. With a garlic press, press the garlic cloves into the oil. (Adding the garlic to the hot oil mellows it out a little bit and takes out the “sting.”) Stir in the salt and the peppercorns and let the oil cool to room temperature.

    • 4

      Loosen the skin over the turkey breast and as much of the legs as you can by working your fingers gently (to avoid tearing the skin) in between the meat and skin. Flip the turkey over and do the same to as much of the skin over the back as you can. Using your fingers, work the achiote rub into the meat under all the loosened skin and inside the cavity of the turkey. Truss the turkey legs with kitchen twine and smear any remaining rub over the turkey skin.

    • 5

      Put the turkey, breast side down, on a rack in a roasting pan and refrigerate, uncovered, for up to 2 days (the longer, the better) (Refrigerating the turkey helps dry the skin, making it crispier after roasting.)

    • 6

      Cook and serve the turkey: Take the turkey out of the refrigerator and bring to room temperature about 30 minutes
      before you plan to cook it. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

    • 7

      Pour 1 cup water into the roasting pan. Roast the turkey, breast side down, for 45 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, away from any bone, registers 155 degrees Fahrenheit, about 3 1/4 hours total cooking time for a 14-pound turkey, or 14 minutes per pound. About 30 minutes before the turkey is done, turn it breast side up on the rack. (A pair of oven mitts that you’re willing to toss into the laundry basket afterward is a good way to turn the turkey. The turkey will continue to cook and the temperature to rise after taking it out of the oven. The final temperature you’re looking for is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The joint where the wing connects to the breastbone is another good place to check the temperature.) Let the turkey stand for about 30 minutes before carving.

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