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Joey B Cooks » Chicks and Turks, Featured, Recipes » Szechuan Turkey – The One and Only

Szechuan Turkey – The One and Only

What a gorgeous bird! (yes, it's upside down)

I’ve been making the Szechuan Turkey recipe since I first discovered it in the Chicago Tribune in 1995. Nothing I make gets more oohs and ahhs when I describe it than this does. I love it when people ask me, before Thanksgiving or Christmas, “Are you making a turkey?” Because I can answer dramatically, “Oh yeah! In fact, It’s been marinating for 3 days now.” Hearing that I would actually marinate a turkey (marinate, with a marinade) seems to impress people to no end. Then when I actually name the recipe…Szechuan Turkey, I get a new round of admiration. All this without even cooked the thing! The other question I get, when I describe the process of making the turkey is, “You roast it upside down?” Yes, you roast it upside down.

Nothing has ever compared with this turkey. It’s incredibly easy to make, and uniquely delicious (and gorgeous, as you can see by the first photo). It’s great for leftovers afterward, and it makes fabulous soup! (I’ll post that soon).

I just remembered that it took some effort to make this recipe the very first time. The reason being that in 1995, I had no clue where to find szechuan peppercorns. Internet shopping was nothing compared to what it is today. I couldn’t find it in stores, and even my more urban friends didn’t know where to find the things. I don’t even know where I ended up getting them. In any case, I now get them from my favorite spice vendor, Penzeys, but I’m sure they’re much more widely available in stores nowadays. Other than that, just follow the recipe exactly and get ready for a whole new turkey experience.

1/4 cup Szechwan peppercorns, see note
1/3 cup coarse salt (kosher salt), see note
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 turkey (10 to 14 pounds), rinsed, patted dry
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 cup water

Turkey in the Roasting Bag

1. Four days before roasting: Place peppercorns in a zipper-style plastic bag and tap with a mallet to break up some of the peppercorns. Place peppercorns in a small saucepan. Add salt and stir; cook over low heat, shaking the handle of the pan occasionally, for 5 minutes. Peppercorns will blacken. Cool. Stir in sugar.
2. Place turkey in a large plastic roasting bag or large bowl (ceramic or stainless steel). Rub turkey inside and out with peppercorn mixture. Seal and place in refrigerator for 4 days. Turn 1 or 2 times a day. The marinade will liquefy.
3. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove turkey from marinade, leaving as many peppercorns as possible in place on the turkey.
4. Place turkey, breast side down, on a V-roasting rack in a large roasting pan. Drizzle on soy sauce. Pour 1 cup water into roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and roast 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Check for doneness. Serve warm or chilled.
Note: Szechwan peppercorns are sold at some Asian markets (usually in cellophane bags), and some large supermarkets. Coarse, kosher salt is sold at many supermarkets. It’s often stocked in the kosher-food section, but sometimes it is with the table salt.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Marinating time: 4 days
Cooking time: About 3 hours
Yield: 14 servings

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Filed under: Chicks and Turks, Featured, Recipes

One Response to "Szechuan Turkey – The One and Only"

  1. Cheryl says:

    What would Thanksgiving be without it??

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