Emeril Lagasse's Pepper-Stuffed Turkey

Course : Turkey
Serves: 8
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1/2 pound butter -- cut into 1/4-inch slices
8 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons cayenne
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
2 tablespoons garlic chopped
8 medium cajun chef brand sport peppers -- (8 to 10)
3 tablespoons pickle juice -- from the pepper jar
1 small turkey -- 10-12-pounds

Preparation / Directions:

Preheat oven to 400ø F. Put the butter slices in the bowl and season with 2 teaspoons of the salt and 1 tablespoon of the cayenne. Freeze for 30 minutes. Combine 4 teaspoons of the salt and 2 teaspoons of the cayenne in a small bowl. In another bowl, combine onions, bell peppers, garlic, sport peppers, the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt, and the remaining 1 teaspoon cayenne with pickle juice. Prepare a work surface, either a large tray or cutting board, topped with a large clean towel to prevent the turkey from sliding around while you work. Remove the neck, gizzards, and livers form the cavity of the turkey. Rinse the turkey under cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Place the turkey, breast side up, on the work surface with the cavity facing you. Lift the skin flap and make 2 to 3 slits on either side of the breastbone, inside the cavity, with a sharp pointed knife, without piercing through the skin. Insert 2 to 3 slices of the frozen butter into each slit. Next, spoon about 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cayenne mixture into the slits. Insert about 1 teaspoon more, if you can, of the vegetable mixture into each hole, pushing with your fingers. Gently pull the drumstick forward and outward to expose the inner thigh. Pull the skin away form the meat. Make a slit following the bone lines from the top of each leg. Use your index finger to make a path and repeat the stuffing procedure described above. Where the skin has been loosened on the inner thigh, spoon in about 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cayenne mixture. Turn the turkey breast side up, with the neck opening facing you. Lift the skin flap and make a slit down each wing from the shoulder, again following the bone lines. Repeat the stuffing process on both wings. Season the outside of the turkey with any remaining salt and cayenne mixture. Place any leftover butter or vegetable mixture inside the cavity. Secure the wings by folding the lower half back over the top of the wing. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Place the turkey in a large deep roasting pan. No fat or cooking liquid is required. Roast at 400ø F for 15 to 20 minutes to get the browning process going. Lower the temperature to 350ø F . Cover the lid and bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until juices run clear. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Lift the turkey out of the pan and carve. Serve warm with pan juices. From Louisiana Real and Rustic. Safe Turkey Cooking Times: Set your oven at 325 degrees F and cook until juices run clear Weight (pounds) Unstuffed Cooking Time (hours) Stuffed Cooking Time (hours) 8 to 12 2 1/4 to 3 3 to 3 1/2 12 to 14 3 to 3 3/4 3 1/2 to 4 14 to 18 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 4 to 4 1/4 18 to 20 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 20 to 24 4 1/2 to 5 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 Serves 8 - 10 You need a medium-bodied red wine for this meal. The turkey is going to be spicy because of the pepper, garlic and compote. Merlot would be a good choice. There are many that are not terribly expensive. Two very good ones are Sterling Vineyards from the Napa Valley and Markham Vineyards. Never defrost a turkey at room temperature. Defrost it in the refrigerator over several days, allowing 24 hours defrosting time per 5 pounds of turkey. Turkey can be defrosted in cold water, but it should be wrapped in leakproof plastic and the water changed every 30 minutes. Buy fresh turkeys no more than one or two days before cooking. Don't let the raw turkey touch other foods. To avoid contamination, thoroughly wash everything it comes in contact with, including hands. To insure all bacteria are killed, use a meat thermometer and cook the turkey until it reaches 170 degrees in the breast and 180 degrees in the thigh. Cook stuffing on the stove and place it inside the turkey once the bird is done. If you do cook the stuffing inside the turkey from the beginning, make sure the stuffing reaches 165 degrees at the center before serving. Refrigerate or freeze leftover turkey within two hours of cooking and consume refrigerated turkey within four day

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