Easy Taco Seasoned Thanksgiving Turkey

by Marjan

Don't knock it until you try it!
Yes, taco seasoned Thanksgiving Turkey! Why not? Rich with flavors of paprika, cumin, onion and garlic powder, this year I'm cooking out of the box and taking you for a delicious ride. Let's face it, there is a reason turkey is served once a year. Many prefer roasted chicken over turkey because chicken tastes and smells less gamey. Taco seasoned turkey solves this problem!
Most years, I prepare my crowd favorite recipe for Saffron Lemon Herb turkey. The reason this recipe has been a success year after year is due to abundance of garlic, lemon and herbs such as fennel, parsley and sage to flavor and conceal turkey's gamey odor.
Using taco seasoning mix, I add generous amounts of lime zest and juice along with butter to make my turkey fragrant, delicious and enticing. Robust with zest and spices, this easy to make turkey is appetizing bite after bite! Try it and I promise you will love it!


Serve with  Spanish rice and deliciously detour from tradition!  Break the rules and have fun listening to your guests compliment "Turkey never tasted so good"! Start a new tradition and you will forget how you once served gamey turkey to your guests.
For more 'out of the box' Thanksgiving recipes we recommend:
Maple Glazed Carrots and Haricot Vert vs. green beans
Yam and Chard Lasagna vs. mashed yam and green vegetables such as spinach
Mushroom Pie vs. mashed potatoes
Roasted Vegetable with Sun-dried Tomato Gremolata vs. roasted odiferous Brussel sprouts
Of course, don't forget to serve delicious appetizers such as Butternut Squash Crostini, Candy Bacon Yam bites and my personal favorite, cranberry and pomegranate salsa with cheese and toast! For dessert, I recommend pomegranate jello to balance all the rich and high calorie combination of meals!

12-14 lb. young turkey
1 stick salted butter; room temperature
1 cup taco seasoning mix (check for salt ingredient; if mix does not contain salt, add 1 tablespoon of sea salt)
6 limes; zest and juice
*gravy optional: flour, butter, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and chicken stock

Thaw turkey in the refrigerator 48 hours prior to Thanksgiving Day. An hour before preparing your turkey, remove it from the refrigerator and store at room temperature. Pat dry turkey and preheat oven to 400° F.
In a medium sized bowl, blend soft butter, taco mix, lime zest and juice.
With your fingers, gently and carefully separate the skin from the turkey making certain not to rip or make holes. Generously spread under the skin covering thighs, drum-stick, and breast portion with entire seasoned butter. Use a little of the butter mix to also moisten and flavor the outer skin.
Transfer turkey to roasting pan. Season with salt, pepper and olive oil on top.
Place turkey in oven for 20 minutes at 400 °F and then decrease heat to 350° F. Roast for 2 hours and then decrease heat to 325° F for additional hour.
Remove turkey and cover with foil for 30 minutes before serving.
Use dripping from the pan to make gravy.
In a sauce pan, brown 3 tablespoons of flour in 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Stir consistently for 5 minutes; add turkey drippings with 1 cup of chicken stock and stir until a thick rich gravy is rendered. Season with more salt and pepper if needed; toss in cilantro and serve with turkey!

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