The Herald of Everett, Washington
Customer service  |  Subscribe   |   Log in or sign up   |   Advertising information   |   Contact us
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus The Daily Herald on Linked In HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up  Green editions icon Green editions

A sweet and spicy Thanksgiving

SHARE: facebook Twitter icon Pinterest icon Linkedin icon Google+ icon Email icon |  PRINTER-FRIENDLY
Associated Press
  • This sweet and spicy turkey starts with a rub of brown sugar and spices.

    Matthew Mead / Associated Press

    This sweet and spicy turkey starts with a rub of brown sugar and spices.

Sugar and spice, and everything nice, that’s what Thanksgiving is made of.
And that’s because the three-dimensional punch of brown sugar boosts other seasonal flavors like cinnamon, clove, anise and allspice. And it does so with a vigor that white sugar just can’t match.
“It’s sweet, and sweet makes our tummies happy. But it’s more complex,” cookbook author Michael Ruhlman says. “It’s got molassesy, caramelly deeper notes. It’s more fun to use because of its complexity.”
Brown sugar’s color, texture and subtle flavor come from molasses, which is either added to refined sugar or remains present after processing.
Sugar enhances sweet tones the way salt emphasizes sugar, says Karen Page, co-author with Andrew Dornenberg of “The Flavor Bible” and “What to Drink with What You Eat.”
The “sugar” side of brown sugar brings out the inherent sweetness in vegetables, such as carrots, squash and sweet potato, Page said. Its molasses component unifies their unique flavors.
“It’s a flavor emphasizer,” Page says.
But a balanced savory dish also needs sweet notes. Brown sugar can add those while boosting other warm tones, such as the smokiness in a bacon-spiked stuffing or the heat in a spice-rubbed turkey. The autumnal warmth of brown sugar also recalls childhood comforts, like oatmeal with butter and brown sugar.
“It’s a feeling thing,” Dornenberg says. “It’s brown, you’re looking outside and seeing brown colors. It makes sense to my body for that reason.”
For this combination of sweet and heat in the turkey, we reached for a bunch of staples from the spice cabinet and baking shelf.
We start with a base of brown sugar, light or dark, it doesn’t matter. We then tame that sweet jolt with smoked paprika, chili powder, onion powder, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, pepper and thyme.
That mixture gets rubbed all over the turkey, inside and out, over and under the skin.
The result is a sweet and spicy flavor that permeates the meat and pairs well with the rest of the meal.
Sweet and spicy turkey
2 large yellow onions, quartered
2 large carrots, cut into pieces
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 12- to 14-pound turkey
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange a rack in a large roasting pan. Scatter the onion and carrot chunks beneath the rack.
Using a food processor, a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind together the brown sugar, smoked paprika, chili powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 2 teaspoons salt, and the dried thyme.
Rub the olive or vegetable oil all over the surface of the turkey, then rub the sugar-spice mixture all over the turkey. Be sure to rub some under the skin as well as inside the cavity.
Arrange the turkey on the rack in the roasting pan. Roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the breast reaches 160 degrees and the thickest part of the thigh reaches 170 degrees. If the turkey begins to darken too much, cover it with foil.
Transfer the turkey to a serving platter, wrap with a layer of foil, then a couple layers of kitchen towels to keep warm.
Remove the rack from the roasting pan. Discard the onions and carrots. Place the roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat and bring the juices to a simmer. Add the white wine and scrape up any browned bits in the pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the chicken broth and the flour. Pour into the pan, whisking continuously. Simmer for 5 minutes, while continuing to stir. Strain the gravy and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the turkey.
Makes a 12- to 14-pound turkey with gravy. Per serving (assumes 20 servings): 380 calories; 150 calories from fat (41 percent of total calories); 17 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 125 mg cholesterol; 11 g carbohydrate; 43 g protein; 0 g fiber; 270 mg sodium.
Story tags » CookingThanksgiving

More Life Headlines


Weekend to-do list

Our to-do list full of ideas for your weekend