Monday, February 26, 2018

Tex Mex Turkey Feast

When Nancy and I were newlyweds, we had to watch what we bought and spent very carefully. This caused us to learn to use and love various dishes.

As an example, in those days, the early to mid 70's, flank steak and skirt steak were very inexpensive. We bought them and taught ourselves how to fix them. We learned to love them. In the recent past both have become trendy and expensive. Fortunately, we can still afford them.

Another example, that applies to this post, comes from the post Thanksgiving deep discount sales on frozen turkey that happened back then. We would buy a couple of the smaller birds and keep them frozen until we needed a meal for more than just us.

And because these birds were not Thanksgiving birds, we didn't always prepare peas and onions or serve cranberry sauce.

That leads to today's experiment. Yes, nearly live, I am attempting a new feast, Tex Mex Turkey.


One batch queso (Click here to see recipe)
One batch guacamole (Click here to see recipe)
One 8 to 10 pound turkey, carefully and safely thawed
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
A small pinch of ground chipolte

For the Dressing

One and a half stale baguettes, diced or cut up to crouton size
One small onion diced small
2 stalks celery diced small
1/2 sweet bell pepper, seeded and diced small
1/2 stick butter
1 Tablespoon Sazon seasoning
1 large bay leaf
2.5 to 3 cups chicken broth

Method for the Dressing Prep

Combine all the ingredients except the bread in a medium sauce pan and bring the mixture just to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and then add a large pinch of additional salt.

Pour the salty broth over the bread croutons and mix well. The mixture should be quite damp. Remove the bay leaf. Place the dressing mix in a casserole with a cover and refrigerate until time to bake.

Method for the Turkey Prep

Spatchcock the turkey (remove the backbone, trim off the wing tips and Pope's Nose, use a knife to split the breastbone cartilage, and flatten the bird). Pat the inside and exterior dry. Combine the salt and spices and mix well. Sprinkle the spice mix over the inside and outside of the bird.

Roasting the Turkey

Put the oven rack in a low middle position. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (390 if using convection).

Place the bird, skin side up, on a wire rack sitting in a sheet pan. Place the sheet pan and rack with turkey in the oven and roast 11/2 to 2 hours and an instant read thermometer exceeds 165 degrees. Be sure you check both the breast and the thigh. (Note: Many people will prefer 180 degrees internal temperature)

While the turkey roasts, make your batch of queso.

Remove the turkey from the oven and tent it with foil . Allow the turkey to rest while the dressing bakes.

Place the covered casserole in the oven and bake 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes.

While the dressing bakes, make your pico de gallo and, from it, your guacamole.

Slice the turkey when the dressing comes from the oven. Serve the bird and dressing with hot queso and a side of guacamole.

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