Cajun Roast Turkey
I love roasting a turkey during the holiday season! It looks very festive on the dinner table and puts every one in a celebratory mood. I used to be very intimidated to roast my own turkey considering the bird’s size, and its lean white meat quality. So I started researching different recipes and experimenting occasionally till I came across some valuable tips that helped me cook a moist, tasty turkey.
The first tip to a moist, flavorful turkey is dry brining. What I mean by that is literally rubbing the entire turkey in kosher salt for a minimum of 24 hours, or up to 3 days. The second tip is to add some type of fat to the turkey, like butter or olive oil (I prefer olive oil). Third is the cooking technique. In the recipe below I will show you how to proceed with all these tips and more!
Cajun Roast Turkey:
14 pounds turkey fresh (giblets and neck removed from cavity)
3 tbsp. kosher salt
8 or more cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
6 tbsp. good quality olive oil
3 tbsp. cajun spice
3 tbsp. smoked paprika
2 Tbsp hot smoked Spanish paprika
1 bunch of fresh thyme
a few sprigs of rosemary
2 large onions quartered
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. baking powder
Starting 3 days before roasting, wash turkey in cold water and pat dry with paper towel.
Rub the turkey’s skin thoroughly with kosher salt and make sure you rub the cavity with some salt. Place the turkey in the fridge on a wire rack fitted inside a baking sheet for 24 hours.
Mix the crushed garlic, 5 tbsp. of olive oil, cajun spice and both types of paprikas together into a paste.
Take the turkey out of the fridge and rub it all over with the paste and try and get in between the skin and the tissue underneath.
Place the turkey back in the fridge for another 24r hours.
The day before, rub the turkey all over with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle the baking powder all over the turkey and place back in the fridge.
On the day of, take the turkey out of the fridge 3 hours before roasting, so that it comes to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 450F OR 235 C.
Place the thyme and half an onion inside the cavity of the turkey.
fill the bottom of the baking pan with 1 cup of water, then add the rosemary, remaining onions, and bayleaves.
Place the turkey in the lowest rack in the oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
Take the turkey out of the oven after 30 minutes and lower the oven temperature to 350F OR 180 C, cover completely with aluminum foil and place back in the oven.
Roast covered for another 21/2 to 3 hours or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160F in the thickest part of breast. Transfer turkey to a cutting board or serving platter and let rest covered for at least an hour. Enjoy!