Chef and butcher Alex Pope keeps roast turkey moist by stuffing thin slices of pepperoni under the skin.
Slideshow: Thanksgiving Turkeys
One 12- to 14-pound turkey
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 pound thinly sliced pepperoni
1 preserved lemon—halved lengthwise, pulp discarded and rind sliced 1/2 inch thick, plus 2 teaspoons minced rind
12 large sage leaves, plus 2 sprigs
2 rosemary sprigs
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons minced thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel
How to Make It
Season the turkey inside and out with the salt and transfer to a rack set in a roasting pan. Refrigerate uncovered overnight. Let return to room temperature before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 300°. Run your fingers under the breast and thigh skin to loosen; tuck the pepperoni, sliced lemon rind and sage leaves under the skin. Stuff the sage and rosemary sprigs in the cavity. Tie the legs with string.
In a medium bowl, blend the butter with the thyme, ground fennel and minced lemon rind. Rub the butter all over the turkey and season with pepper.
Roast the turkey in the lower third of the oven for 2 1/2 hours. Increase the oven temperature to 425° and roast for 30 minutes longer, until well browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 165°. Transfer the turkey to a carving board and let rest in a warm place for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Strain the pan juices into a bowl. Carve the turkey and serve with the juices.
Medium-bodied Tempranillo often has a spicy, herbal edge, making it perfect with the pepperoni and sage here.
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Review Body: How are there no other reviews of this?! We have done this recipe 3 years in a row and it's the only way I will cook turkey. The pepperoni adds fat and a little spice, the preserved lemon adds nice acidity and the sage and butter under the skin are a delight. MUST TRY!