Following on the heels of my Mexican Buddha Bowl that you all seem to love, I decided to make another one with a Middle Eastern flair. Many of you know that I was born in the Middle East so these flavors are near and dear to my heart. Since the goal is to eat more healthy, I’ve included grilled veggies with lots of flavor and a wonderful and fresh Tabouleh. And of course some Chicken and some Fava beans. I also prepared a really easy fresh salad dressing that you could use with so many other dishes and salads.
Gobble Gobble! Cooking a Turkey is synonymous with feeding people you love. I always like to try something different each Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday and this year I made a Middle Eastern inspired Turkey. The bird is the star of the show and done right, it can be juicy and flavourful I love Turkey but I’m not crazy about the long cooking time, so this year I decided to drastically cut down the cooking time by Spatchcocking the Turkey. This means I will remove the spine so the Turkey can lay flat and cook in less time than it usually does.
If you’re never cooked a Turkey before, be sure to check the cavity of the bird. This is usually where they stash the neck and other parts of the Turkey. Store this in your fridge. I always like to use a fresh bird and I always brine my Turkey for 24 hrs. Brining ensures that the Turkey is flavourful and moist. This is a simple mixture of salt and sugar in 4 litres of water. I like to throw in some lemon slices before I immerse my bird in a bucket or container large enough to hold the bird. If you don’t have enough room in your fridge to hold this large container, you can sit this on your kitchen counter in cold water for two hours, or just skip this step. After the brining process you need to dry the bird out really well, I like to leave it in a colander to drain and I will follow that with a tea towel and wipe all the excess moisture. It’s important that your bird is dry, otherwise it will steam in the oven.
Spatchcocking the Turkey was a bit harder than I imagined, I have spatchcocked many a Chicken, but the Turkey bones are much tougher. To watch this video make sure to click the link in this post.
Once the Turkey was ready I prepared a wonderful spice blend with the best of Middle Eastern flavours. My bird is about 12 lbs so I should be cooking this for about 3 hrs and 45 mins, but because it’s spatchcocked, it’s only going to take 1.5 to 2 hrs. I’m going to start at 350 and increase the heat to 450 when I take the lid off. If you find it’s browning too quickly in your oven, cut the heat back.
I was introduced to Couscous many years ago and love the ease of it’s preparation.Couscous are granules of durum wheat. It comes in various sizes and is popular in North Africa and the Middle East. It is cooked by soaking in hot water to rehydrate. This recipe is a spiced and flavorful version with paprika, cumin, tomato paste, sumac, pomegranate molasses and fresh parsley and mint and cucumber and tomatoes and red peppers. It is finished with crumbled feta cheese.
In the summertime, we host a lot of BBQ’s and impromptu get togethers and I always lean towards this recipe to serve with my latest recipe off the grill. It screams summer and freshness!