Sage, Paprika and Salt-Rubbed Turkey

Talking turkey is the thing right now and I’m no exception to the crowd.  Perhaps I should wish for more originality, but the plain truth is I love Thanksgiving turkey in all it’s forms.  Now that brining, salting, rubbing and herbing turkey is the rage, the variety is endless and like music to any fun-loving cook’s ears.  This recipe is one I did last year for the family.  Who knows what this year’s meal will be.  I haven’t gotten to planning it, although it’s a rare family that lets you get away with moving too far from turkey, stuffing and gravy.  Why should we when it’s perfect just the way it is?

Sage, Paprika and Salt-Rubbed Turkey
1, 14 pound turkey

Dry Rub:
3 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons paprika
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons course-grain sea salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

To Roast:
1 carrot; peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 ribs celery; cut into 1-inch pieces
1 fennel bulb; cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion; peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

Pan Sauce:
4 tablespoons good quality Dijon mustard

Dry Rub:
Break down turkey into breasts, wings, drumsticks and thighs.  Combine all dry rub ingredients in a small bowl and rub vigorously over all turkey pieces including the back bone.  Cover and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.

To Roast:
When ready to roast, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place all vegetables in the bottom of a roasting pan and place the turkey pieces on top.  Roast uncovered for 1 1/2 hours or until the turkey thighs are tender and thermometer reads 170 degrees. The breasts are cooked through when an internal thermometer reads 165 degrees.  Remove and let rest for at least 10 minutes.

Pan Sauce:
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, add the pan juice to the Dijon mustard and whisk well.  Set aside and remove the turkey meat from the bones and slice thinly.  Serve immediately.

To make a stock, place all the bones and vegetables into a large stock pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, skimming any fat and floaty bits off the surface.  Strain and cool.  Will keep in freezer or fridge.

Serves 14 to 16 people