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Recipe: Roast turkey breast and thighs separately, sprinkled with the popular spice blend baharat

Roast Turkey Thighs and Turkey Breast with Baharat Spices.Sally Pasley Vargas

Serves 8

Of all the spices and preparations for roast poultry that we have tried over the years, the one that delivers the most flavor without overpowering the meat is baharat spices, a popular blend that varies from kitchen to kitchen in North Africa, across the Middle East, and in Greece and Turkey. The blend can be fiery or warm, but for roasting turkey, it's best without too much heat and some of the more distinctive aromatics, such as cinnamon, left out. You can buy baharat in good spice shops, but it takes minutes to make on your own. This one is mixed with coriander, cumin, sweet paprika, black pepper, nutmeg, and allspice. Every chef will tell you that when you roast a whole bird, it's impossible to get the white meat juicy and the dark meat cooked through at the same time. The white meat always suffers, which is a good enough reason to roast turkey parts. Here, a whole or split bone-in breast and bone-in thighs sit overnight (or for at least five hours) in the fridge sprinkled with salt, as a dry brine. Before roasting, let them sit out for half an hour so they're not stone cold when they go into the oven. Sprinkle the skin with olive oil and the spices and roast the turkey. Breast meat is done at 165 degrees (and not a second more), dark meat at 180 degrees. Both need to rest for at least 20 minutes. Carve them off the bone, sprinkle with lemon juice, and bring a heaping platter of perfectly cooked turkey to the table.

BAHARAT

1tablespoon ground coriander
1tablespoon ground cumin
1tablespoon sweet paprika
1teaspoon ground black pepper
½teaspoon ground cloves
½teaspoon ground nutmeg
½teaspoon ground allspice

1. In a small bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, paprika, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice.

2. Mix well and set aside. Make the spice blend as far in advance as you like and store in the spice cabinet.

TURKEY

1 split turkey breast on the bone (3 pounds) or 1 whole turkey breast (4 pounds)
2 turkey thighs, on the bone (2 pounds total)
Salt, to taste
Olive oil (for sprinkling)
2medium onions, thinly sliced
2medium apples (any kind), unpeeled, cored, and thickly sliced
1cup water, or more if needed
2 lemons, halved
Large handful of parsley sprigs (for garnish)

1. Have on hand 1 large or 2 smaller roasting pans.

2. Set the turkey in the pans, skin side up. Pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle generously with salt. Refrigerate the turkey, uncovered, for at least 5 hours or preferably overnight.

3. Remove the turkey from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

4. Set the oven at 325 degrees.

5. Sprinkle the turkey with olive oil. Tuck the onions and apples under the turkey pieces. Sprinkle the turkey skin with the spices. Add the water to the roasting pan; there should be enough to moisten the onions and apples.

6. Roast the breast for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165 degrees. Roast the thighs for 1 hour, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thighs registers 180 degrees. During cooking, if the apples and onions are starting to stick to the pan, add more water. Remove the turkey from the oven and leave it in a warm place for 20 minutes before carving.

7. Use a large metal spoon to skim the fat off the apples and onions. Transfer them to a bowl. Carve the breast off the bone and arrange on one side of a platter. Cut the meat off the thighs and set on the other side of the platter. Sprinkle all the meat with lemon juice. Garnish with parsley.

Sheryl Julian

Serves 8

Of all the spices and preparations for roast poultry that we have tried over the years, the one that delivers the most flavor without overpowering the meat is baharat spices, a popular blend that varies from kitchen to kitchen in North Africa, across the Middle East, and in Greece and Turkey. The blend can be fiery or warm, but for roasting turkey, it's best without too much heat and some of the more distinctive aromatics, such as cinnamon, left out. You can buy baharat in good spice shops, but it takes minutes to make on your own. This one is mixed with coriander, cumin, sweet paprika, black pepper, nutmeg, and allspice. Every chef will tell you that when you roast a whole bird, it's impossible to get the white meat juicy and the dark meat cooked through at the same time. The white meat always suffers, which is a good enough reason to roast turkey parts. Here, a whole or split bone-in breast and bone-in thighs sit overnight (or for at least five hours) in the fridge sprinkled with salt, as a dry brine. Before roasting, let them sit out for half an hour so they're not stone cold when they go into the oven. Sprinkle the skin with olive oil and the spices and roast the turkey. Breast meat is done at 165 degrees (and not a second more), dark meat at 180 degrees. Both need to rest for at least 20 minutes. Carve them off the bone, sprinkle with lemon juice, and bring a heaping platter of perfectly cooked turkey to the table.

BAHARAT

1tablespoon ground coriander
1tablespoon ground cumin
1tablespoon sweet paprika
1teaspoon ground black pepper
½teaspoon ground cloves
½teaspoon ground nutmeg
½teaspoon ground allspice

1. In a small bowl, combine the coriander, cumin, paprika, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice.

2. Mix well and set aside. Make the spice blend as far in advance as you like and store in the spice cabinet.

TURKEY

1 split turkey breast on the bone (3 pounds) or 1 whole turkey breast (4 pounds)
2 turkey thighs, on the bone (2 pounds total)
Salt, to taste
Olive oil (for sprinkling)
2medium onions, thinly sliced
2medium apples (any kind), unpeeled, cored, and thickly sliced
1cup water, or more if needed
2 lemons, halved
Large handful of parsley sprigs (for garnish)

1. Have on hand 1 large or 2 smaller roasting pans.

2. Set the turkey in the pans, skin side up. Pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle generously with salt. Refrigerate the turkey, uncovered, for at least 5 hours or preferably overnight.

3. Remove the turkey from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

4. Set the oven at 325 degrees.

5. Sprinkle the turkey with olive oil. Tuck the onions and apples under the turkey pieces. Sprinkle the turkey skin with the spices. Add the water to the roasting pan; there should be enough to moisten the onions and apples.

6. Roast the breast for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165 degrees. Roast the thighs for 1 hour, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thighs registers 180 degrees. During cooking, if the apples and onions are starting to stick to the pan, add more water. Remove the turkey from the oven and leave it in a warm place for 20 minutes before carving.

7. Use a large metal spoon to skim the fat off the apples and onions. Transfer them to a bowl. Carve the breast off the bone and arrange on one side of a platter. Cut the meat off the thighs and set on the other side of the platter. Sprinkle all the meat with lemon juice. Garnish with parsley.Sheryl Julian

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