Nothing freaks me out as much as cooking whole turkeys. Part of it, I think, stems from my years as a vegetarian. Cooking all meats makes me squeamish, but there’s also just something about turkey. Roasting whole chickens, which is essentially the same thing just a little smaller, makes me uncomfortable, but it’s doable. But the turkey. The big, honking, scary turkey gives me agida. Ogeda? The willies.
You know what didn’t help? This year, MY TURKEY DIDN’T HAVE LEGS. I spent more money than I’m willing to admit on an organic free range antibiotic free Whole Foods approved turkey because Dan and I are on this kick where we’re buying ethically raised meats. And on top of being antibiotic free, it was also leg free. And you know what helps you understand which way is up when cooking a turkey? THE LEGS AND WINGS. I couldn’t figure out which way was up! It’s whole center of gravity was off, it wouldn’t sit straight in the roasting pan and it kept falling over and I’m 99% sure I cooked it upside down.
Thankfully, even though I cooked it upside down and I had no legs to truss together and I was home sick with a nasty stomach bug, it tasted amazing. Totally delicious. Now, you may think that the whole habanero thing is intense and scary and way too spicy for your “not the pepper again” family, but it’s not. First of all, roasting a habanero takes a lot of the punch out of it, and so the marinade gives the skin a little extra (very subtle) flavor, and keeps the meat perfectly moist. It’s incredible.
Roasted Mango & Habanero Turkey
1 cup orange juice
1 whole turkey (preferably with legs)
Salt & pepper
Aluminum foil for turkey triangle
*If you’d like your turkey to have an extra punch, you can inject the marinade into the meat of the turkey. If you’d like to do so, double all the ingredients (save the turkey) and make twice as much marinade.
Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Roast whole mango for 90 minutes and whole habanero for 20. Let cool.
Peel mango and use a knife to scrape pulp off into the food processor. Combine with orange juice and pepper. Blend.
Remove your turkey from it’s packaging and remove any innards. Slather with marinade. Cover in plastic wrap and marinate overnight.
When you’re ready to cook your turkey place in a roasting pan legs up. Tie the legs together.
Fit your turkey triangle. A turkey triangle keeps the white meat juicy while cooking the dark meat. Make a triangle out of the foil and fit it around the body of the turkey.
Heat your oven to 500. Cook turkey at 500 for 30 minutes (without triangle). Then drop the temperature down to 350, put on the triangle, and cook until the temperature of the breast is 165.
Allow to rest 20 minutes before carving.