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Roast Turkey with Ancho Paste and Maple-Coffee Sauce

(recipe, Deborah Krasner)


This unstuffed, straight-up roast turkey reaches new heights with chile and a deep maple-coffee sauce. The spice rub is liveliest if you grind the dried chiles and cumin seeds yourself. Try grating a dusting of bitter chocolate over all just before serving. Thanksgiving may never be the same.


    1. 1 (8- to 9-pound) pastured turkey
    2. 2 dried ancho chiles or 3 Tbsp. ancho chile powder
    3. 3 tsp. cumin seeds or 3 tsp. ground cumin
    4. 3 Tbsp. sweet paprika
    5. 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
    6. ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    7. ¼ cup maple syrup or honey
    1. ⅛ tsp. ground cloves
    2. 2 Tbsp. ancho chile powder
    3. ¼ cup light brown sugar
    4. ½ cup hot strong black coffee
    5. 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
    6. ¼ cup grade-B dark maple syrup
    7. 4 Tbsp. (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    8. 1 Tbsp. grated bitter chocolate (optional)


    1. Prepare the turkey: Bring the turkey to room temperature, rinse it, and blot it dry. Whirl the whole spices, paprika, and salt together in an electric spice grinder or combine the already ground spices with the salt. Stir the spices mixture with the oil to make a paste and rub it all over the turkey, inside and out. Massage it into every nook and cranny. Let the turkey sit at room temperature for about 1 hour to allow the flavors to penetrate.
    2. Heat the oven to 325 degrees and set a rack in the lower third of the oven. Arrange a roasting rack inside a roasting pan large enough to hold the turkey, and put the bird on the rack, breast side down. Roast the turkey, feet facing the back oven wall, for about 1 hour, then turn the bird breast side up and roast it until the internal temperature registers 155 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh. This should take about 2 hours and 20 minutes in total. If the bird starts browning too much on the breast, tent it loosely with aluminum foil. Baste the turkey as needed, using the fat and juices in the pan.
    3. When the bird hits 160 degrees, increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees and pour the maple syrup over the breast to give the skin a sweet glaze. Cook for another 10 minutes, check to be sure the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees, then remove the bird from the oven and let it rest.
    4. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: Mix the spices and the sugar, coffee, Worcestershire sauce, and maple syrup together in a saucepan and heat to a boil, stirring. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter. Keep the sauce warm over the lowest possible heat until you are ready to serve, or leave it, covered, off the heat in a warm kitchen. Whisk the sauce again before drizzling it over the turkey or passing it at the table, grating the bitter chocolate over the meat on a serving platter, if desired.