Thanksgiving Roasted Turkey With Chocolate Sourdough Dried Fig, Apricot, Date, Cranberry, an Apple Stuffing

Turkey is so easy. The bird had been sitting in wait overnight, being moisturized by the Sichuan peppercorn salt under its skin and in its belly. Next step was to stuff it with the Chocolate Sourdough dried fruit stuffing and sprinkle the top with more of the salt. Then a pastry brush swish of olive oil to spread the seasoning all over the skin and it was done. The turkey even had a flap of fat that the legs got pushed through to keep the cavity closed — no knitting needles, skewers or kitchen string required. The oven was preheated to 450 Fahrenheit and the turkey went in for 20 minutes.

After that it got basted and the heat got turned down to 325 for 4 hours. It got basted (approximately…) every 30 minutes and after the 4 hours I checked the thigh with a meat thermometre to make sure it had cooked through to 165 Fahrenheit. Then the other most-important-part of roasting a turkey: I tented it with aluminum foil for 30 minutes. This distributes the moisture throughout the meat. You just shocked a dead animal for 4 and a half hours; I hope you can understand that it’s a little hard for it to relax and let the juices spread evenly through its flesh. 30 minutes in a relatively cool tent is like a massage after a workout or a hard day. I was going to say “like a cigarette after sex” but I don’t encourage such things (One? The other? Both?).

How was it? The turkey, you mean? Moist and flavourful. Every now and then you’d get a slight hit of some kind of unidentifiable pepper, and then the salt of the crisp skin would make your eyes water. The turkey was joyfully overwhelmed by the sweetness of the dried fruit in the stuffing, but the thyme actually shone through everything, and helped bring the savoury turkey flavour back into the game. Even the subtle chocolate intertwined itself with the bird in a mouthful of Mexican mole-inspired joy. Thank goodness I don’t believe in unchanging tradition. A perfect balance of cultural influences, recipes, and chastened innuendos make me feel very Canadian…at least very Torontonian and Montrealaise.

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