Introduction: Orange-Ginger-Miso Turkey With Roasted Vegetables

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Give even a standard supermarket turkey an extra flavor kick.

Step 1: Make Miso Paste

2-4 large scoops miso paste
grated ginger
grated garlic
sesame oil
orange zest
dash soy sauce

Combine all ingredients to make a soft paste. Taste it and adjust seasonings- this will flavor your bird, so make sure it's to your liking.

Step 2: Find Turkey and Pan

Get yourself a nice turkey*, and a pan with plenty of room for it to sit.

I've got a very small (8 lb) turkey, and a rather large pan that can accommodate a much larger bird. Yours can fit more snugly.

*There are many varieties to choose from. The standard production turkey is a Broad Breasted White, which has such a large breast that mating is impossible and all birds are the product of artificial insemination. There are also "heritage" breeds of turkey such as the Bourbon Red, Bronze, and Narragansett, which have smaller breasts but generally more flavorful meat.. Any of these can be raised free-range, which usually results in lower fat content, more dark meat, and larger/stronger bones. These features usually cost more, unfortunately.

Step 3: Rub and Stuff

Rub the miso paste under the turkey's skin as described in this previous version of the recipe. Stuff orange slices and onions under the skin as well.

Place the turkey in the pan, and surround it with chopped onions, root vegetables (carrots, regular or sweet potatoes, celery root, parsnips, etc), tomatoes, parsley, and pepper.

If you're using a low-fat bird (heritage or true free-range turkey) then drizzle the veggies with olive oil and stir to coat. This will prevent them from sticking and burning. A regular production turkey will drop plenty of liquid.

Step 4: Roast

Roast the bird in a 400F oven for the first 30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350F and cook until an instant-read thermometer reads ~165F* at the thickest part of the breast and thigh. Rotate the pan periodically during cooking to ensure even heating. If the breast gets too dark or hits 165F before the thigh, tent the breast with foil and continue cooking.

*The 180F quoted by the turkey companies is bogus tail covering- it's like cooking the bird to Super-Dry-Extra-Crispy-Well-Done. The turkey will be dry and overcooked, but hey- any potential pathogens are SO dead! (Salmonella dies at 160F)

Step 5: Carve and Serve

After you've impressed everyone with your gorgeous roasted bird, let it sit for a while so it can cool and redistribute juices.

Remove all the roasted vegetables to a serving bowl, drain and reserve juices for use in gravy, then carve the turkey. Find a big cutting board and a nice, sharp knife.

First remove the legs/thighs. Cut through the skin connecting them to the breast, and wiggle the leg to expose the hip joint. Cut through the surrounding flesh to make things clearer, wiggle the leg/thigh again, and cut through the joint. This should be easy if you work your knife into the gap properly- no bones involved.

Perform a similar operation to remove the wings from the body, separate the leg/thigh joint, and separate the wings into individual segments. If any portions (most likely the thigh) seem undercooked, return them to the oven separately for a quick trip under the broiler.

Now you've got a round lump of predominantly breast meat still attached to the bird. Stabilize the body with a long fork, and trim off slices of the breast until you reach the underlying bone. Alternatively, use your fingers to separate both sides of the breast from the carcass in separate chunks, then slice the breast directly on the cutting board. This technique allows for better slicing, and in any direction.

Place the turkey in an large bowl or on a platter, and serve warm. If it must wait, cover the dish with foil then warm it in the oven briefly before moving it to the table.