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If you are wondering how to make a tender and juicy roasted turkey you have come to the best place. One of the great advantages of living in a city as cosmopolitan as Chicago is meeting people from other cultures and learning their cooking secrets.
The marinade to season this turkey is inspired by the mojo criollo used by countries like Cuba and Puerto Rico and the secret to make this turkey super tender and juicy was passed on to me by a neighbor who is from the Czech Republic. The mojo criollo is a mixture of oil, garlic and spices that is used in Caribbean countries to marinate meat, fish, chicken, whatever you like and really gives a spectacular flavor to everything so I thought of using it to marinate our turkey this Thanksgiving.
The ingredients to prepare it are very inexpensive and easy to find, you probably already have them in your pantry.
How to thaw a turkey
The first challenge is undoubtedly how to thaw a turkey. If your turkey is frozen, plan to thaw it ahead of time. Place it in the refrigerator on a tray for 3 days to thaw naturally. If you are in a hurry, you can thaw it more quickly. Soak it in room temperature water in the sink, changing the water every 30 minutes. Do not use hot water. When partially thawed, open the bag and make sure the water enters the turkey cavity, removing any ice chunks you find. If you are interested in other quick thawing techniques see this post.
- 2 cups of orange juice
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 5 cloves of garlic
- ¼ cup vegetable oil, can be corn, avocado, olive, whatever you have at home.
- ½ large white onion
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon grounded cumin
- ¼ cup cilantro (leaves only)
- 1 apple
- 1 whole head of garlic
Baking tip: To bake the turkey in an hour less cooking time and have it tender and juicy, I recommend using Reynolds baking bags, they are sold in supermarkets, look for them, they are not expensive and are very helpful.
Step 1: Preparation of the turkey. Once the turkey is completely thawed, remove the giblets from the turkey that usually come in the turkey cavity and carefully separate the turkey skin with a spoon, creating space for the marinade, avoiding damaging the skin.
Step 2: Seasoning the Turkey for Baking. Pour the cooking oil into a small pot and allow it to heat up, it is important that it does not boil, we are going to add the garlic cut in thin slices and we are going to leave it in the hot oil for about five minutes. We do not want to fry the garlic, we just want the oil to be impregnated with the garlic flavor and smell.
Step 3: Marinating in the Blender. In a blender, combine 2 cups of sour orange juice, ½ large white onion, 1 teaspoon of pepper, 1 tablespoon of oregano, 1 tablespoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of cumin and ¼ cup of coriander. Blend until smooth and add the garlic and oil at the end and blend everything very well.
Step 3: Marinate the turkey. Pour the marinade in the space created between the skin and the meat of the turkey. Use a spoon and with your hands move the marinade as much as you can, practically the skin of the turkey serves as a little bag to keep the marinade inside.
Step 4: Cut an apple in four and put it in the cavity of the turkey, add 1 head of garlic cut in half. The moisture from the apple will help to keep the turkey juicy and the garlic releases gas and aroma that will help to season and season the meat.
Step 5: Use a Reynolds brand baking bag and sprinkle a tablespoon of flour inside the bag and place the turkey inside. Pour the remaining marinade mixture over the turkey. Close the bag and place the turkey in the refrigerator. Turn the bag every time you open the refrigerator so that the turkey marinates evenly.
Ideally, marinate overnight or at least 3 to 4 hours.
Step 6: Cooking in the Oven Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Cooking time will depend on the weight of the turkey. For this reason it is very important that you keep the label on the turkey so you can see how much it weighs. If you use the baking bag, the turkey will cook faster. Make an incision in the top of the bag to allow steam to escape.
Oven Roasted Turkey cooking time
The weight of your turkey is what will dictate how long it should be baked. For a turkey of 5 to 7 kilos (11 to 13 pounds), it takes approximately 3 to 3:45 hours if it has no stuffing, if it has stuffing it takes between 3:45 minutes to 4:15 hours.
For a turkey of 13 to 17 pounds (7 to 8 kilos) it takes approximately 3:45 minutes to 4:45 hrs without stuffing, if it has stuffing it will take between 4:00 to 4:30 hrs.
For a turkey of 17 to 23 pounds (8 to 11 kilos) it will last in the oven between 4:15 and 5 hours, remember to check it so you don’t overdo it, if it has stuffing it will last between 4:30 hours and 5:15 hours.
Step 7: Finishing Cooking
If you baked it in a bag: Once cooked, carefully remove the turkey from the bag and baste it with the juices released during cooking, ready to serve!
If you baked it in a tray and covered it with aluminum foil: Remove the foil and baste it with the juices released during cooking. Put back in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes to brown the skin. Check every 2 minutes so as not to burn the skin.
If you did it in a Turkey Roaster: Remove the lid of the pavera, bathe it with the juice it released and put it back in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes so that the skin browns a little.
Note: Once removed from the oven, it is important to let the turkey rest for about ten minutes before carving to allow the juices to settle inside the turkey. Remove the apple and the head of garlic from inside the cavity and you can stuff with this delicious turkey stuffing.
How to serve turkey
Accompanying a juicy and deliciously marinated turkey is essential to creating an unforgettable dining experience. Here are some suggestions to make your meal a complete celebration:
1. Sauces and Gravy: Sauces are a classic accompaniment to turkey. A good mushroom gravy, cranberry sauce, or homemade gravy are popular choices. These sauces add a touch of acidity and richness that perfectly complements the juiciness of the turkey.
2. Traditional Side Dishes: You can’t go wrong with traditional side dishes such as mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, spaghetti or pasta and roasted vegetables. These classic dishes bring out the flavors of the turkey and offer a combination of textures and flavors that everyone loves.
3. Fresh Salads: A fresh, crisp salad is a delicious contrast to turkey. Opt for a spinach salad, an apple and walnut salad, or a coleslaw salad. Their fresh ingredients and refreshing dressings complement the richness of the turkey.
4. Specialty Desserts: Finish the meal with a sweet touch. Apple pie, carrot cake, or blueberry pie are traditional desserts for the season. You can also opt for lighter options, such as fresh fruit or sorbet. Remember that the most important thing is to enjoy the company of your loved ones and a meal that everyone will remember.
Other recipes that may interest you:
- Roasted Turkey in Mexican Adobo
- Bacon wrapped Turkey
- Roasted Turkey in orange brine
- BBQ Roasted Turkey
- Thanksgiving turkey in mustard brine
- Relleno Mexican stuffing for roasted turkey
- 1 Blender
- 1 oven
- 1 Pot
- 1 Oven Bag from Reynolds brand This is optional but can shorten the roasting time for over 1 hour.
- 1 piece turkey
- 2 cups orange juice
- 5 cloves garlic
- ½ piece onion
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon Oregano
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ½ tablespoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ cup cilantro or coriander
- 1 piece apple
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 whole garlic
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoon salt
Preparacion Del Pavo
- Once the turkey is completely thawed, remove the turkey neck and remember to remove the bag where the giblets are located.
- Then, carefully separate the skin from the turkey with a spoon, creating space for the marinade, avoiding damaging the skin.
- In blender, combine 2 cups orange juice, ¼ cup lime juice, 5 cloves garlic, ½ large white onion, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoon oregano, ¼ cup oil, ½ tablespoon salt, 1 /4 teaspoon cumin and ¼ cup cilantro. Blend until you obtain a homogeneous mixture.
- Pour the marinade into the space created between the meat and the skin of the turkey.
- Cut an apple into four and put it in the cavity of the turkey, add the head of garlic cut in half. The moisture from the apple will help keep the turkey juicy and the garlic releases flavor and aroma that will help season and dress the meat.
- Use a Reynolds brand baking bag sprinkle a tablespoon of flour inside the bag and place the turkey inside.
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of salt over the turkey and pour the rest of the mixture, making sure to coat the turkey well.
- Close the bag and place the turkey in the refrigerator. Turn the bag each time you open it so the turkey marinates evenly. Ideally, let it marinate overnight, or at least 3-4 hours.
Roasting the turkey
- Preheat Oven to 350°F (180°C). Remember that the cooking time will depend on the weight of the turkey.
- Make a few slits in the top of the bag to allow steam to escape.
Completion of Cooking
- once cooked, carefully remove the turkey from the bag and baste with the juices released during cooking.