Cuban Thanksgiving Turkey
1 12-14 lb turkey, fresh or thawed
salt & fresh ground pepper
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 head of garlic -- break into cloves and peel
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup lime juice
The day before, remove the giblets and any lumps of fat from the
turkey cavities. Wash the turkey well and blot dry. Season the
inside with salt and pepper. Loosen the turkey skin from the meat.
To do so, start at the neck and tunnel your fingers, then whole
hand, under the skin to separate the skin from the breast meat.
Slide your hand down to loosen the skin over the thighs, drumsticks
and back. Work carefully so as not to tear the skin.
Prepare the marinade. Mash the garlic and salt to a paste in a
mortar with a pestle. Pound in the pepper, cumin, and oregano and
last of all the lime juice or sour orange juice. If you do not have
a mortar and pestle, puree the ingredients in a blender. Add 3
tablespoons marinade to the main cavity and 1 tablespoon to the neck
cavity. Place the remaining marinade under the skin. Work over a
roasting pan to catch any runoff from the marinade. Place the bird
in a large plastic bag with any excess marinade. Marinate the turkey
overnight in the refrigerator, turning several times.
Preheat the oven to 300°. Thinly slice the butter and place half of
the slices under the skin. Melt remaining butter. Truss the turkey
and place it, breast side up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Brush the
skin of the bird with some melted butter. Loosely drape a large
piece of cheesecloth over the skin, then pour the remaining butter
and marinade over the cheesecloth. Roast the bird for 2 hours. Baste
with the juices and melted butter that collect in the pan. Lift the
cheesecloth from time to time to keep it from sticking to the bird.
Increase oven temperature to 350° and roast for 1 hour. Increase the
heat to 400° and remove the cheesecloth from the turkey. Roast 15-20
minutes, basting frequently.
When cooked, the skin will be golden and the leg juices will run
clear when pricked with a fork. The internal temperature should be
185° on an instant-read thermometer and the drumstick should feel
loose when wiggled.
Transfer the turkey to a platter or cutting board. Let stand for 15
minutes before carving. Strain the pan juices and serve in a sauce
boat on the side.
"Miami Spice, the New Florida Cuisine"