Part I of the series featuring my favorite classic Thanksgiving recipes with a special African-inspired Dining With Grace twist!!
Piri Piri Turkey
Piri-piri is a seasoning blend found in the Southeastern part of Africa used as a spicy marinade or sauce condiment for broiled or grilled poultry and seafood dishes. This spicy blend originated in Mozambique and Angola after Portuguese settlers arrived in these countries with the chili pepper. (Piri-piri is Swahili for chili.) The typical marinade for this dish combines a mix of red chili peppers, garlic, lemon juice, and fresh herbs and gives the turkey a wonderful smoky and zesty flavor. It is similar to the Cajun style of seasoning (which also has both African and Portugese influence) in its major use of chilies/cayenne, garlic, vinegar and zesty herbs.
Piri Piri Marinade-Rub
12 red chili peppers (remove seeds) OR 3 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp sea salt
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar
6 garlic cloves (crushed)
2 tsp fresh or dried thyme
2 tbsp cilantro
2 tbsp parsley
1 cup olive oil
Combine the spices, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic cloves, thyme, cilantro and parsley in a blender and puree until smooth adding the olive oil slowly until smooth. Add additional salt to taste if necessary.
Put cleaned turkey in a marinating or roasting bag. Lift skin gently from turkey by sliding your hand under and pour the marinade under the skin making sure the marinade has reached every part of the turkey. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for 3-4 hours.
Take turkey out of refrigerator approximately 60 minutes prior to roasting and pre-heat the oven to 420 degrees. Truss the turkey which basically helps to hold the turkey together to encourage perfect shape, even cooking and moisture retention. For tips on how to truss, click here.
Add a cup of water, stock or apple cider to the pan and roast turkey for about 40 minutes. reduce heat to 350 degrees . Add chicken stock and desired aromatics (chopped onions, celery, apples, carrots, herbs, etc) to the roasting pan. When deep color is reached, you may want to cover top of turkey with a loose foil tent to avoid further darkening.
Bake until meat between leg and thigh is at 165 degrees! Let rest for at least 20 minutes and carve away!