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THANKSGIVING RECIPES

Recipe: Keep Thanksgiving simple with a crispy-skinned roast turkey with paprika butter

Roast Turkey with Paprika ButterSally Pasley Vargas

Serves 8

A generation ago, paprika was one of the few spices in the pantry, so Grandma would approve. Mash it with soft butter to spread all over the bird. To prep the turkey before the paprika-butter, start the night before. Pat the turkey dry and sprinkle it all over with salt. Set it in a roasting pan and refrigerate uncovered overnight. Yes, leave it uncovered. That allows the skin to dry out a little bit for maximum crispness while roasting. The only essentials are a rack to fit inside the roasting pan and a meat thermometer. The rack elevates the bird and allows the thighs to brown nicely. If the bird is getting too brown, make a blanket of foil for the top (cover the breast completely). A meat thermometer will tell you when the bird is done. Insert it into the flesh in at least three places. It must reach 165 degrees all over to be safe. Allow at least half an hour for the turkey to sit in a warm place. That's a good time to reheat the sides. Timing here is for a regular oven, not convection. A convection oven will cook much faster, so check the internal temperature of the bird after 2 hours in the oven to see how it's doing. Keep checking every 30 minutes until you reach the done temperature.

  • 1

    turkey (about 14 pounds)

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • ½

    cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 2

    teaspoons sweet paprika

  • 1

    lemon, halved

  • 1

    carrot, cut into 4 pieces

  • 1

    onion, cut into 4 pieces

  • 1. Have on hand a roasting pan large enough to hold the turkey with space around it. When it's time to cook the turkey, you'll also need a rack that fits snugly inside the pan. Set the turkey in the roasting pan (without the rack for now). Unwrap the turkey and remove the giblets from vent and the neck end. The neck end giblets can be hard to get out but don't cook the turkey without removing them. Set the giblets aside in a bowl; cover and refrigerate.

  • 2. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels, including the cavity. Sprinkle the skin and cavity with salt. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.

  • 3. Set the oven at 425 degrees (this is just for heating the oven; you'll roast at a lower temperature).

  • 4. Lift up the turkey and set the rack inside the roasting pan.

  • 5. On a plate with a fork, mash the butter and paprika to blend them. With your hands, rub the paprika butter on the turkey. It doesn’t have to form a neat coating. The butter can be here and there. Sprinkle with pepper.

  • 6. Tuck the lemon inside the cavity. Use kitchen twine to tie the turkey legs together. Drop the carrot and onion through the rack so they sit in the roasting pan. Add the gizzard and turkey neck to the pan. (Save the liver and heart for another dish.)

  • 7. Turn the oven temperature down to 325 degrees.

  • 8. Slide the pan into the oven. Roast the turkey, turning the pan halfway through cooking, for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. If the bird is browning too much, cover the top, especially the breast, with foil. The turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the turkey in several places registers 165 degrees. Insert the thermometer deep into the thickest part of the thigh (not into the bone), the part of the thigh near the breast, the thickest part of the breast, and under the wing. Every spot should read at least 165.

  • 9. Remove the bird from the oven and let it rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Sheryl Julian

Serves 8

A generation ago, paprika was one of the few spices in the pantry, so Grandma would approve. Mash it with soft butter to spread all over the bird. To prep the turkey before the paprika-butter, start the night before. Pat the turkey dry and sprinkle it all over with salt. Set it in a roasting pan and refrigerate uncovered overnight. Yes, leave it uncovered. That allows the skin to dry out a little bit for maximum crispness while roasting. The only essentials are a rack to fit inside the roasting pan and a meat thermometer. The rack elevates the bird and allows the thighs to brown nicely. If the bird is getting too brown, make a blanket of foil for the top (cover the breast completely). A meat thermometer will tell you when the bird is done. Insert it into the flesh in at least three places. It must reach 165 degrees all over to be safe. Allow at least half an hour for the turkey to sit in a warm place. That's a good time to reheat the sides. Timing here is for a regular oven, not convection. A convection oven will cook much faster, so check the internal temperature of the bird after 2 hours in the oven to see how it's doing. Keep checking every 30 minutes until you reach the done temperature.

1 turkey (about 14 pounds)
Salt and pepper, to taste
½cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2teaspoons sweet paprika
1 lemon, halved
1 carrot, cut into 4 pieces
1 onion, cut into 4 pieces

1. Have on hand a roasting pan large enough to hold the turkey with space around it. When it's time to cook the turkey, you'll also need a rack that fits snugly inside the pan. Set the turkey in the roasting pan (without the rack for now). Unwrap the turkey and remove the giblets from vent and the neck end. The neck end giblets can be hard to get out but don't cook the turkey without removing them. Set the giblets aside in a bowl; cover and refrigerate.

2. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels, including the cavity. Sprinkle the skin and cavity with salt. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.

3. Set the oven at 425 degrees (this is just for heating the oven; you'll roast at a lower temperature).

4. Lift up the turkey and set the rack inside the roasting pan.

5. On a plate with a fork, mash the butter and paprika to blend them. With your hands, rub the paprika butter on the turkey. It doesn’t have to form a neat coating. The butter can be here and there. Sprinkle with pepper.

6. Tuck the lemon inside the cavity. Use kitchen twine to tie the turkey legs together. Drop the carrot and onion through the rack so they sit in the roasting pan. Add the gizzard and turkey neck to the pan. (Save the liver and heart for another dish.)

7. Turn the oven temperature down to 325 degrees.

8. Slide the pan into the oven. Roast the turkey, turning the pan halfway through cooking, for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. If the bird is browning too much, cover the top, especially the breast, with foil. The turkey is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the turkey in several places registers 165 degrees. Insert the thermometer deep into the thickest part of the thigh (not into the bone), the part of the thigh near the breast, the thickest part of the breast, and under the wing. Every spot should read at least 165.

9. Remove the bird from the oven and let it rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.Sheryl Julian


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