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Recipe

The Perfect Bird (aka Pepper-stuffed Turkey)

  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks butter, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 8 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 8 ñ 10 Cajun Chef Brand Sport Peppers
  • 3 tablespoons pickle juice from the peppers
  • 1 10 ñ 12 pound turkey, either fresh or completely defrosted if frozen, rinsed and patted dry, neck and giblets removed from the cavity and reserved for other uses

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a bowl season the butter with 2 teaspoons of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the cayenne, and freeze for 30 minutes.
  • In a small bowl combine 4 teaspoons of the salt and 2 teaspoons of the cayenne. In another bowl, combine the onions, bell peppers, garlic, sport peppers, the remaining 2 teaspoons salt and the remaining 1 teaspoon of cayenne with the pickle juice.
  • Cover a flat work surface with paper towels to keep the turkey from sliding while you work. Place the turkey, breast side-up, on the work surface with the cavity facing you. Reach into the turkey cavity holding a small, sharp paring knife. With the knife, make 2 to 3 slits, each 2- to 3-inches in length and 1/4-inch deep, in the turkey meat inside the cavity on either side of the breastbone, being careful not to cut so deeply as to pierce the skin on the other side.
  • Into each slit, insert 2 to 3 pieces of frozen butter, then rub about 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cayenne mixture into each slit. Next, insert about 1 teaspoon (more if possible) of the vegetable mixture into each slit, gently working it in with your fingers.
  • Gently pull one drumstick forward and expose the inner thigh. Pull the skin away from the meat and make a slit following the bone lines from the top of each leg. Repeat the stuffing procedure, described above for both legs.
  • Turn the turkey around, breast side up, with the neck opening facing you. Lift the skin flap and make a slit down each wing from the shoulder, again following the bone lines. Repeat the stuffing procedure for both wings.
  • Season the outside of the turkey with the remaining salt and cayenne mixture. Place any leftover butter or vegetable mixture inside the turkey cavity. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine, and place the turkey, breast side down, in a large, deep roasting pan.
  • Roast the turkey at 400 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake for 3 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear, turning the turkey breast side up halfway through the cooking process.
  • Remove the turkey from the oven and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes on a platter before carving. Serve warm with the pan juices.