For the turkey:

1 turkey, 18 to 20 pounds, thawed and brined in pinot noir brine

For the glaze:

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1-1/2 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder

6 scallions, cut into 6 inch lengths

½ cup peeled and thinly sliced fresh ginger, or

wild rice and hazelnut stuffing (optional)

2 cups soy sauce

1 cup honey

¼ cup toasted sesame oil

½ cup thinly sliced ginger


1. Glaze the bird:  Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse thoroughly, inside and out, under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.  Check outside for pin feathers and inside for anything not properly removed by butcher. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper and five spice powder.  Season the turkey inside and out with the salt mixture.

4.  Either stuff the cavity with the scallions and ¼ cup sliced ginger or, if you have chosen a stuffing, prop the turkey up in a large bowl, stuff lightly inside the neck cavity, fold skin flap over the stuffing and secure with skewers.  Turn bird to other end and stuff lightly (not too tight—the stuffing will expand as it roasts, so the crumbs should remain somewhat loose now.  Put any leftover stuffing into an oven-proof bowl or baking pan, preferably one with a cover.)  Cover the stuffing with a patch of aluminum foil, pin the skin flap over the foil and tie the legs and tail together with kitchen twine.  Fold the wings akimbo.

5.  Whisk together the soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and the remaining ¼ cup of ginger.  Paint the turkey on all sides with the mixture, reserving excess for basting later during the roast.

6.  Roast the turkey:  Place oven rack in middle and preheat oven to 450*.  Transfer turkey to the rack of the roasting pan, breast side up and transfer it to the oven.

7.  Immediately reduce the heat to 325*.  Roast 10 minutes per pound (to an internal temperature of 170* — about 3 hours for an 18 pound turkey).

8.  After 1 hour, baste again with the glaze and then baste every half hour until the turkey is done.  Check often to see that it is not becoming too brown.  If the skin browns before the meat is done, put aluminum foil over the entire bird to prevent burning the skin while the meat finishes roasting.  Remove from oven and transfer to a cutting board or large platter.  Allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.  Remove twine and skewers.

SUGGESTED PAIRING:  California’s Monterrey region is an up and coming area for Pinot Noir, thanks to its cool, ocean-influenced climate, which gives wines great acidity and generous fruit intensity.  That balance makes them go especially well with the different flavors of the Thanksgiving feast – especially turkey.

adapted from Joanne Chang, Food and Wine Magazine

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