A Texas turkey: Bring on the chiles and warm pecan sauce
The holiday dish below is adapted from a remarkable 1929 cookbook, said Toni Tipton-Martin in Jubilee: Recipes From Two Centuries of African-American Cooking (Clarkson Potter). The author, Artaway Fillmore, developed the book’s recipes while serving as chef at a hotel in Lubbock, Texas. “What draws me to Fillmore’s fine-dining style? Flavors that are culturally and regionally familiar.” I recommend pairing this turkey with a side of cornbread dressing.
Recipe of the week
Roast turkey with chile-pecan sauce
To make chile rub:
In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp paprika; 1 tbsp each chile powder, ground cumin, brown sugar, salt, and black pepper; and 1½ tsp each chipotle chile powder, dried oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder.
For turkey and stock:
1 (10–12 lb) turkey
2 small onions, quartered
3 celery stalks with leaves
5 large garlic cloves
1 small apple, cored and quartered
2 carrots, halved lengthwise
¼ cup vegetable oil or melted butter
For chile-pecan sauce:
2 tbsp minced onion
2 tsp minced garlic
1 small Scotch bonnet pepper, minced
1 tbsp chile powder
1 tsp ground cumin
½ cup chopped toasted pecans
Preheat oven to 325. Remove giblets and neck from turkey. In a large saucepan, combine 3 cups water with the giblets and neck, plus 1 quartered onion, 1 quartered stalk celery, 1 crushed garlic clove, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer while turkey roasts. Add water as needed to maintain liquid level.
Tuck wings under turkey, then use string to tie wings and legs close to body. Place the bird, breast side up, in a roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer into lower part of thigh without touching the bone. Fill neck and body cavity with apple, carrots, 1 quartered onion, 4 smashed garlic cloves, and 2 celery stalks, then use skewers to close body cavity. Rub turkey all over with oil or butter, then with chile rub. Tent turkey with foil and roast, basting with pan juices every 30 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 180, 3 to 3½ hours. During final 30 minutes, remove foil and cease basting, so skin will brown. Transfer turkey to a platter; reserve drippings.
To make sauce: Strain stock through a colander and reserve. Pour off and discard all but 2 tbsp of turkey pan drippings, then place pan over medium-high heat. Add minced onion, garlic, and Scotch pepper and sauté until softened, about 1 minute. Sprinkle in chile powder and cumin; sauté 2 minutes. Gradually whisk reserved stock into pan in a slow, steady stream, scraping up brown bits. Cook until sauce is reduced by a third, about 20 minutes. Stir in pecans and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Carve and present the turkey with the sauce on the side. Serves 10 to 12. ■