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Brine, grill your turkey for taste of Southwest
Salsa verde provides a zesty accent to turkey that has been brined and grilled.

Want to try something new this Thanksgiving?

This recipe makes the most of the flavors and cooking methods of the Southwest. The salsa can be served warm or at room temperature.

If you are pressed for time, skip the brine and simply season the bird with salt, then cook as directed. Cooking times will vary based on the weather and type of grill.

This turkey should not be stuffed, as the cooking method makes it difficult to ensure the stuffing reaches a safe temperature. Try to maintain a temperature of 325 F to 400 F in the grill.

The recipe is from Gourmet magazine and Epicurious.com.

Grill-Roasted Brined Turkey with Anaheim Chile Salsa Verde

Start to finish: 4 hours prep and roasting, plus 10 hours brining

For the brining:

8 quarts cold water

2 cups coarse salt

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

12- to 14-lb. turkey, rinsed inside and out

For the salsa:

6 fresh green Anaheim chilies (about 3/4 lb.)

3/4 lb. fresh tomatillos or 1-1/4 cups drained canned tomatillos (about half a 28-oz. can)

1 cup chicken broth

2 garlic cloves

1 cup packed fresh cilantro sprigs

Juice of half a lemon

Salt to taste

For the roasting:

1 tablespoon chili powder

To brine the turkey, in a container large enough to hold the turkey and 8 quarts of water (a 5-gallon bucket lined with a plastic bag works well) combine the water, salt and brown sugar. Add the turkey and soak, covered and refrigerated, for 10 hours.

While the turkey brines, make the salsa. Heat the oven to broil.

Arrange the chilies on the rack of a broiler pan then broil 2 inches from the heat, turning frequently, until the skins are blistered and charred, about 8 to 12 minutes. Alternatively, the chilies also can be charred over gas burners for about 3 to 6 minutes.

Transfer the chilies to a bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then let stand until cool enough to handle. Wearing rubber gloves, peel chilies and discard the skins. Cut off the tops of the chilies, then scoop out and discard the seeds and ribs.

Remove husks from the fresh tomatillos. Rinse the tomatillos under warm water.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the tomatillos, broth and garlic. Simmer until the tomatillos are tender, about 10 minutes if using fresh tomatillos and 5 minutes if using canned. Add the chilies to the tomatillo mixture.

Cool the salsa slightly, then transfer to a blender and pulse until coarsely chopped. The salsa may be made up to this point 2 days ahead then cooled before being covered and chilled. Bring the salsa to room temperature or reheat before proceeding.

Just before serving, in a blender combine the salsa, cilantro and lemon juice. Pulse until the cilantro is finely chopped. Season with salt.

To roast the turkey, remove it from the brine and pat dry inside and out. Fold the neck skin under the body and fasten with a small skewer. If desired, secure wings to body with small skewers.

Set an oiled metal rack in a roasting pan that will fit in your grill with the cover down. Place the turkey on the rack in the pan, then sprinkle it with chili powder. Use kitchen twine to loosely tie together the drumsticks. The turkey may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Preheat a gas grill. If using a charcoal grill, open the vents in the lid and bottom of the grill and divide 50 briquettes between 2 opposite sides of bottom, leaving the middle clear.

Position a grill rack with wider openings over briquettes and light the briquettes. They will be ready for cooking as soon as they are lightly coated with gray ash, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Place the roasting pan with the turkey on the grill and close the grill cover. Turn all gas settings to low. Roast the turkey, basting it with pan juices and rotating the pan 180 degrees every hour, for 3 hours.

If using a charcoal grill, add 10 briquettes to each mound of coals every hour to maintain even temperature.

After 3 hours, insert an instant-read thermometer in the fleshy part of an inner thigh. The turkey is done when it reaches 175 F.

Transfer the turkey to a heated platter and discard the twine. Loosely cover turkey with foil and let stand 20 minutes before carving. Garnish turkey with chilies, garlic and tomatillos, then serve with salsa verde.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Copyright © 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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