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Guajillo-Tamarind Turkey with Roasted Poblano Gravy

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Long, pointed, deep-red dried guajillo chiles are available in Mexican markets. If you can't find them, substitute dried ancho chiles. Tamarind is a sweet-sour pulp that comes in many forms; the Indian tamarind concentrate used here is a thick, sticky, dark brown, smooth syrup. Look for it in specialty food stores, Indian markets, or Latino markets. If you can't find it, substitute equal parts molasses and lime juice. You can make the glaze up to a week ahead; chill airtight.

Guajillo-Tamarind Glaze

    1 head garlic (about 2 oz.)
    8 stemmed dried guajillo chiles (2 oz. total; see notes)
    1/2 cup tamarind concentrate (see notes)
    1 cup lightly packed rinsed fresh cilantro
    1/2 cup honey
    1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    1 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
    1/2 teaspoon salt

Cut top 1/2 inch off garlic; wrap loosely in foil. Bake in a 350 oven until soft when pressed, about 45 minutes. Let cool, then squeeze garlic from skins into a 3- to 4-quart pan (discard skins). Add chiles, tamarind concentrate, cilantro, 1 cup water, honey, lime juice, pepper, and salt to pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often; remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Pour into a blender or food processor and whirl until smooth. Makes about 2 cups.

Guajillo-Tamarind Turkey

    1 turkey (12 to 18 lb.)
    Guajillo-tamarind glaze (See Above)
    1 onion (8 oz.)
    2 carrots (6 oz. total), rinsed
    4 stalks celery (8 oz. total), rinsed
    1 orange (8 oz.)
    2 lemons (6 oz. each)
    1 lime (3 oz.)
    4 dried guajillo chiles (1 oz. total; see notes)
    8 cloves garlic, peeled
    6 sprigs fresh thyme, rinsed

Remove and discard leg truss from turkey. Pull off and discard any lumps of fat. Remove giblets and neck; discard or reserve for other uses. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry. Rub about a third of the guajillo-tamarind glaze inside the cavity. Place turkey, breast up, on a V-shaped rack in a 12- by 17-inch roasting pan; pour remaining glaze into bottom of pan, then pour in 1 cup of water.

Peel onion and carrots; rinse celery, orange, lemons, and lime. Cut carrots and celery into chunks; cut onion, orange, lemons, and lime into quarters. Arrange vegetables, fruit, chiles, garlic, and thyme in roasting pan around and under rack.

Roast according to chart, checking turkey every 30 minutes; if juices in bottom of roasting pan threaten to scorch, add 1/2 cup water at a time to pan. When a thermometer inserted through thickest part of breast to the bone registers 155, about 15 minutes before chart indicates turkey will be done, remove turkey from oven. Brush all over with juices in pan (if liquid is too thick to coat turkey in a thin, even layer, dilute with 1/2 cup more water). Continue roasting until turkey is well browned and thermometer registers 160, about 15 minutes longer.

Transfer turkey to a platter. Let rest in a warm place for 30 minutes before carving. Pour juices in bottom of pan through a fine strainer into a 2-cup glass measure; discard solids and reserve juices for poblano gravy.

Roasted Poblano Gravy

    Pan drippings from guajillo-tamarind turkey
    About 1 cup fat-skimmed chicken broth (if needed)
    1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter
    3 fresh poblano chiles (8 oz. total), roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    Salt and fresh-ground pepper

Skim fat from pan drippings. Measure drippings and add chicken broth, if needed, to make 2 cups liquid.

In a 3- to 4-quart pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add chiles and stir for 1 minute. Turn heat to medium-low and whisk in flour until well combined.

Whisking chile mixture constantly, slowly pour dripping mixture into pan. Whisk until gravy boils and thickens, 6 to 8 minutes. If gravy is thicker than desired, add a little more broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into a gravy boat; serve hot.

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The Pacific Coast of Mexico www.tomzap.com Tom Penick:  tom@tomzap.com