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Maple-Pepper Roasted Turkey

No recipe image available.Extra effort in required to make this holiday-perfect bird, but the end results are worth it. Prior to roasting, the turkey is marinated for 24 hours in a solution of lemon juice, maple syrup, shallots, garlic, fresh thyme, bay leaves and black pepper.

Recipe Ingredients:

Maple-Pepper Butter:
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons coarse salt

Maple-Pepper Glaze:
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

Maple-Pepper Marinade:
1 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup corn oil
6 medium shallots, thickly sliced
6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Turkey:
1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey, giblets, neck and neck skin removed and reserved, rinsed and patted dry
3 medium onions, cut into 1-inch dice
3 medium ribs celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
Salt and freshly black pepper to taste

Cooking Directions:

  1. For Maple-Pepper Butter: Combine all ingredients in a food processor or electric blender, and process until blended, then scrape into a bowl.
  2. For Maple-Pepper Glaze: In another bowl, combine maple syrup, lemon juice, and the finely ground pepper. Cover until ready to use.
  3. For Maple-Pepper Marinade: Combine lemon juice, maple syrup, oil, shallots, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, lemon zest, and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper in a sturdy 2 gallon plastic bag. Add turkey, squeeze out as much air as possible and seal bag. Distribute marinade evenly over and inside turkey. Set turkey, breast side down, in a bowl in the refrigerator and marinate for 24 hours, turning occasionally.
  4. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Position oven rack on lowest rack.
  5. To Roast Turkey: Remove turkey from marinade. Wipe off any shallots and garlic that are clinging to it and pat bird dry. Strain marinade into a bowl; skim off oil and reserve the rest. Set herbs, garlic, and shallots aside separately.
  6. Carefully loosen turkey skin over breast and thighs with your fingers. Put all but 3 tablespoons of the softened Maple-Pepper Butter in a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip, and pipe it under the breast and thigh skin, patting gently to spread butter. Alternatively, spread it evenly with your fingers.
  7. Put one-third of the diced onions and celery in the cavity. Tie legs together with kitchen string and set turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Rub remaining maple butter over the turkey and roast for 30 minutes, basting twice with pan juices. The skin may appear dark in patches because the maple syrup in the marinade and butter caramelize as the turkey cooks. Cover bird loosely with foil to keep skin from burning.
  8. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (175°C). Spread the remaining onions and celery around turkey, and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast just above wing joint measures 165°F (75°C) and juices run clear, about 1 1/2 hours. During last 30 minutes, add reserved shallots, garlic, and herbs to pan, then remove foil from turkey and brush twice with Maple-Pepper Glaze. When breast is done, transfer bird to a carving board. Remove whole legs from turkey, cutting them off at the hip joint. Cut off wings from breast. Loosely cover breast with aluminum foil, and let rest until ready to carve.
  9. Meanwhile, make gravy: Set roasting pan over 2 burners over high heat and cook vegetables remaining in pan until golden brown, stirring constantly. Carefully pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add flour and whisk for 1 minute. Add reserved marinade and the chicken stock, and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Simmer, whisking constantly, for 3 minutes. Strain gravy into a saucepan and boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, pour into a sauceboat, and serve alongside turkey.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Tip: Butter and glaze may be made 1 day ahead, then covered and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before using.