Indian-Spiced Turkey

  • 1 (14- to 16-lb) turkey -- neck and giblets (excluding liver) reserved for turkey giblet stock
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 3/4 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 (1 1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil plus additional for greasing pan
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Put the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F.

Rinse the turkey inside and out and pat it dry. Mix the rub in a blender, by combining the remaining ingredients and processing it. Rub it evenly in the turkey cavities. Then rub it under the skin. Take a piece of plastic wrap and wrap it around your index finger. Use the plastic and your finger to separate the skin from the bird. Massage the rub under the skin as well. Fold the neck skin under the body and, if desired, secure it with a metal skewer, then tuck the wing tips under the breast and tie the drumsticks together with heavy kitchen string.

Put the turkey on a rack in a large flameproof roasting pan. Roast, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through roasting, until a thermometer inserted into the fleshy part of each thigh (close to but not touching bone) registers 170°F, 1 3/4 to 2 1/2 hours.

You can make a quick glaze of honey (or just sugar water) and toasted ground cumin. Towards the end of the bake, paint the glaze on the outside skin. Do this several times and you will get a nice spicy varnish to the skin that not only looks great, but tastes great too.

Carefully tilt the turkey so that the juices from inside the large cavity run into the roasting pan. Transfer the turkey to a platter (do not clean the roasting pan) and let it rest for 30 minutes (the temperature of thigh meat will rise to 180°F). Cut off and discard the string from the turkey.

Note: We don’t recommend this high-heat roasting method for turkeys weighing more than 16 pounds. However, for turkeys weighing less than 14 pounds, start checking the temperature earlier. If you only have a dark-colored metal roasting pan or your pan juices start to look very dark, add 1 cup of water to the roasting pan.

  • Yields: 8-12 servings
  • Preparation Time: about 3 hours
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