Baked Cajun Turkey

This was my first turkey to ever cook and my sweet friends volunteered to be the testers at our Friendsgiving.  I wanted to do a cajun turkey, I am all about a lot of spice.  Plus, a cajun turkey paired well with the sides that my friends and I were making.  We made truffle mac & cheese, creamed spinach, au gratin potatoes, and garlic bread. For the turkey, I selected a 11 lb. turkey which was plenty for 7 people.  I would definitely set aside about an hour for prep of the turkey and then 2-3 hours for baking depending on the size of your turkey.  It will be delicious!

Ingredients for Turkey Base:

1 medium carrot
1 rib celery
1/2 medium onion

Ingredients for Turkey Cavity Filling:

1 crisp apple
1 jalapeno pepper
1 green onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon Cajun Spice Rub
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Ingredients for Cajun Spice Rub:
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

Prepare the cavity filling:
1) Cut apple into large pieces, seed and cut jalapeno into strips, dice green onion and halve garlic cloves.
2) Add one teaspoon oil to saute pan over medium heat and add all ingredients.
3) Toss to coat and saute just until fragrant and tender, about 5 minutes.
4) With tongs, take the ingredients from pan and insert most of the mixture into body cavity and a small amount into neck cavity.

Roast the turkey:
1) Place seasoned, filled turkey into a preheated 325(F) oven for 2.5 hours or about 15 minutes per pound.
2) Turkey is done when thermometer inserted into the meatiest part of the thigh reads 170(F). Take care not to touch the bone with thermometer, as this temperature will read higher than the meat itself.
3) Allow bird to rest 10 minutes or more before carving.
4) A spicy gravy can be made with roasting pan juices.

Prepare the turkey:
1) Remove turkey from packaging; locate and set aside neck and giblets package from inside the turkey cavity.
3) Rinse turkey with cold water and completely pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
4) Roughly chop carrot, onion and celery for turkey base.
5) Arrange vegetables in the bottom of roasting pan. I used a throw-away pan, but placed a cookie sheet underneath for support.
6) Place turkey on top of vegetables, breast side up.

Season the turkey:
1) Combine all ingredients for Cajun Spice Rub in a clean, dry bowl and set aside.
2) Melt butter and brush all exposed area of the turkey.
3) Generously coat turkey with spice rub mixture.

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