Turkey with a Twist: Roast Turkey with Mediterranean Rub

When planning your Thanksgiving Day menu, it’s important to not treat the meal as a crazy mishmash of flavors. If your sides tend toward light and citrus flavored, this twist on roasted turkey will be a beautiful and delicious addition to your holiday meal. If you are just researching recipes and are wondering what kinds of side dishes would go with this twist on the Thanksgiving classic, I would start by making your own cranberry sauce; a splash of orange juice and a little lemon zest will give you the perfect complement to this lightly flavored turkey.

To stay with your Mediterranean theme consider couscous instead of heavier starches. Your vegetables should let their own flavors shine, avoid recipes calling for creamed soup and lots of cheese. I know it may not be Thanksgiving without green bean casserole, but green beans with browned butter and almonds will be a lovely addition to this menu. While I am an avowed fan of roasted brussels sprouts, the strong flavor of the vegetable may overwhelm the turkey, stick with something a little lighter. A wilted spinach salad with dried cranberries and pecans would also make an excellent and colorful addition to your Thanksgiving meal.

Remember, your Thanksgiving table is a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth. If your Butterball turkey, whether carved or whole, will be acting as a centerpiece, halve or quarter a few lemons and tuck some  parsley leaves around the edges of the platter. The green and yellow will give a bright pop of color to your dish. If you want to bring some red into the color palette, cranberries would be lovely, too. Just remind kids that raw cranberries aren’t exactly as delicious as they look.

After I removed my turkey from the roasting rack, sprinkled it with the rub, I covered it with Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil (You see, sometimes even the most attentive cooks get distracted and what starts out as 15 minutes standing can turn into 20 or 30; the foil helps keep that turkey ready to serve).

I may or may not have drizzled the juices that collected on the platter onto my serving of turkey and I may or may not have sighed with pleasure. You are free to experiment with drizzling the juice over your own turkey, but please report back and let me know what you thought.


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Serves: 12 servings

1 Butterball® Turkey (14 to 16 pounds), thawed completely if frozen
1 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup ground dry lemon peel
4 tsp sugar, granulated
4 tsp sea salt
4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tbsp dry oregano leaves
2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Remove neck and giblets from turkey. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Turn wings back to hold neck skin against back of turkey. Place turkey breast side up on flat rack in shallow roasting pan.
3. Roast turkey approximately 1-1/2 hours. Then, cover breast loosely with Reynolds Wrap® Aluminum Foil to prevent overcooking.
4. While turkey is cooking, combine parsley, lemon peel, sugar, salt and spices to make rub. Set aside.
5. Roast turkey another 1-1/2 hours, or until meat thermometer reaches 180°F when inserted into the deepest part of the thigh muscle.
6. Let turkey stand 15 minutes before carving.
7. Sprinkle rub on sliced Butterball Turkey or rub over entire turkey when it is removed from the oven.

NOTE: Recommend using rub within 24 hours for best results.


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