Shop early, shop organic. Organically raised, free-range turkeys have a rich, meaty flavor and stay juicy when cooked. Speak to your butcher about ordering a fresh turkey; we like the heritage breed Bourbon Red.
• 1 8- to 10-pound fresh or frozen turkey
• 1 brining bag or extra-large plastic bag
• 2 cups lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves (about 1-1/4 ounces.)
• 1-1/3 cups orange juice
• 1/2 cup lemon juice
• 10 cloves garlic, halved
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2/3 cup olive oil
• Nonstick cooking spray
• Peppered Onion Gravy (optional)
Thaw turkey, if frozen. Using tip of sharp knife, prick turkey in several spots. Place turkey in brining bag set in very large bowl. Set aside.
In large food processor combine cilantro, orange juice, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin, and black pepper. Cover; process until almost smooth. With processor running, slowly add oil in thin stream. Pour cilantro sauce over turkey; marinate in refrigerator at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours, turning occasionally*. Coat shallow roasting pan and roasting rack with cooking spray.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Remove turkey from marinade; discard marinade. Place turkey, breast side up, on rack in prepared roasting pan. Insert oven-going meat thermometer into center of inside thigh muscle without touching fat or bone. Tent turkey with foil. Roast 2-1/4 hours. Cut band of skin between drumsticks so thighs will cook evenly. Continue roasting 30 to 45 minutes more or until thermometer registers 180 degrees F, juices run clear, and turkey is no longer pink. Cover with foil to prevent over-browning, if necessary. Let stand, covered, 15 minutes before slicing. Pass Peppered Onion Gravy. Makes 10 to 12 servings.
Peppered Onion Gravy:
In medium saucepan cook 1 large onion, chopped, in 1/4 cup olive oil until tender. Stir in 3 tablespoons cornstarch, and 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground pepper until smooth. Add two 14-ounce cans reduced sodium chicken broth. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 1 minute more. Season to taste with salt. Makes 3 cups.
Turkey Breast Option:
Use two 3 to 3-1/2 pound fresh or frozen (thawed) bone-in turkey breast halves and 1/2 recipe marinade. Use tip of sharp knife to prick turkey breast in several spots. Place skin side down in very large self-sealing plastic bag set in baking dish. Marinate as above. Coat shallow roasting pan and roasting rack with nonstick cooking spray. Roast, skin side up, uncovered, in 400°F oven 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Roast turkey 1 to 1-1/2 hours longer or until thermometer registers 170 degrees F. If necessary, cover with foil to prevent overbrowning. Let stand, covered, 15 minutes before slicing. Makes 10 to 12 servings.
*Tip: Because turkey is not totally submersed in marinade, it is important to turn the turkey.