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Mouthsgiving 2016: This Porchetta Rub Is All You Need To Hack Your Turkey

Each year at Mouth HQ we host a Thanksgiving potluck, where members of the team cook classic Thanksgiving dishes upgraded with small-batch, indie-gredients. And then we share the recipes with you! Today, we bring you a dish made by our Purchasing & Merchandising Manager, Kate Harper. Welcome to Mouthsgiving 2016! 

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time, solely because it’s an excellent excuse to be truly gluttonous for days (those leftovers only last so long and they’re not going to eat themselves). Also, it’s a chance to fully embrace my skill set. I may not be great at small talk with relatives, but I can definitely hide in the kitchen and cook. No one can fault you for disappearing when you return with a tasty snack or start loading up the table with piping hot plates. 

Most of my family’s stalwart dishes are pretty easy to assemble and total crowd-pleasers. There’s a board with a few cheeses (always Cremont), Farmhouse Crisps and some Fig Almond Spread to whet the appetite (plated in a snap and devoured almost as quickly). Sweet potatoes covered in crispy, gooey marshmallows – who doesn’t like digging into those? Crispy string beans glistening with melted butter and studded with flaky sea salt (they practically cook themselves!). 

But, let’s talk turkey. It’s the main event and there’s just so much pressure not to screw it up! So a few years ago I hunkered down to face my fears. It’s basically just a 12-pound chicken, right? I can roast those!

Everyone seems to have “the best turkey recipe,” but take it from a girl that has spent years mastering it – all you need is this Porchetta Fennel Garlic Dry Rub. When I brought it in for the website (that’s my job!) it never occurred to me that it would be the perfect seasoning for turkey, but the flavors just make sense.

It's zesty and herbaceous, with a slight mustard-like bite underscored by aromatic wild fennel pollen and fennel seed – you'll detect the licorice-like, bittersweet smell of anise, which perfectly complements the turkey’s mellow yet rich flavor.

Oh, and if you’re making the turkey, that means you’re making the gravy, too. But don’t worry, I’ve got a secret for that, too. (The recipe is right after the 12-pound chicken. I mean, turkey…) 

Kate’s Porchetta Fennel Garlic Dry Rub Turkey

1 turkey (about 12 pounds)
Salt, to taste
1 head garlic, cut in half
½ lemon
½ apple, quartered
1 bunch sage
½ stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tin Porchetta Fennel Garlic Dry Rub

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Prepare turkey for roasting by drying it inside and out and discarding that pesky giblet bag.
3. Place turkey in roasting pan, season cavity with 1 tablespoon Porchetta Fennel Garlic Dry Rub and stuff with garlic, lemon, apple and sage.
4. Rub turkey skin with soft, unsalted butter. This acts as a baste for the meat and helps keep it moist while it cooks.
5. Sprinkle Porchetta Fennel Garlic Dry Rub on turkey, using enough to season entire surface. (I like to use a lot, but it can be pretty salty, so keep that in mind.)
6. Place in heated oven and cook 30 minutes to crisp up the skin. Reduce heat to 375° and cook until a thermometer inserted in the white meat reads 160F, about another hour.*
7. Remove from oven and place turkey on large cutting board (saving the juices in the roasting pan). Cover with foil and let rest at least 20 minutes, keeping in mind the turkey will continue to cook.

Kate’s Apple Cider Vinegar Gravy

3 tablespoons flour, plus more
1-2 cups chicken stock
Salt
Pepper
1-2 tablespoons Carr’s Ciderhouse Apple Cider Vinegar

DIRECTIONS

1. Set your roasting pan on the stove over medium heat (remove the roasting rack, if you used one).
2. Sprinkle some flour in the pan and whisk to combine until you get a paste and the flour has cooked. The exact amount of flour will depend on the volume of drippings in your pan (3 tablespoons is a good place to start).
3. Whisk in chicken stock (1-2 cups, depending on how much gravy you want). Bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
4. Finish with 1-2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar, to taste.

I find it’s easiest to slice the turkey in the kitchen to avoid "backseat slicers" – who wants to slice under the pressure of all those watching, hungry eyes, complaining whether it's too thick or too thin? But, by all means, plate up the full bird first and take it on a victory lap so everyone can oooh and ahhh over you. I mean, it.

*A few words about food safety: I get it. You really want to make sure you cook this thoroughly but you don’t want to go overboard and serve a leathery bird. I’ve always had trouble matching the time per pound cooking guidelines with the particularities of the oven in question, so I cheat. I use an oven thermometer that has an in-roast sensor and I set the timer to 160°F. Then I walk away until it beeps.

Sometimes that’s 90 minutes, sometimes it’s more; it totally depends on the oven, I’ve found. When you take the turkey out to rest, the residual heat will keep the meat cooking for a while, so you should easily reach the recommended 165°F cooking temperature for poultry without risking over-cooking your bird.

Total time: About 90 minutes, or until bird reaches an internal temperature of 165°F
Serves: 12

The 2016 Mouthsgiving Menu

Kate's Porchetta Fennel Garlic Dry Rub Turkey + Apple Cider Vinegar Gravy
Josie's Kale Salad With Candied Pecans, Dried Berries And Blue Cheese
Marianne's Brussels Sprouts With Maple Bacon And Chili Granola
Sophie's Sautéed Green Beans With Grainy Mustard And Almonds
Jenny's Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Savory Rosemary Granola
Craig's Sausage And Popcorn Cornbread Stuffing
Nancy's Maple Sugar Cranberry Sauce
Kiernan's Bourbon Smoked Roasted Cauliflower
Ethan's Roasted Carrots And Onions With Shallot Oil
Ayesha's Citrus Almond Cake With Candied Orange Peels 

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