Za’atar is generally a combination of dried oregano, thyme, and/or marjoram with sumac and toasted sesame seeds The Middle Eastern seasoning mix may have other herbs and spices mixed in. You can buy Za’atar, pre-mixed, at the grocery store, or create your own mix. Jess Emin from @eatwithjessie created this turkey recipe using the seasoning. This recipe is perfect any time of year or to add a different flavour profile to your Thanksgiving or holiday dinner.
Prep time: 15 minutes active, 24 hours passive
Cooking Time: 3 hours
-whole turkey (9 lbs)
-1 cup za’atar seasoning, divided
-½ cup kosher salt, plus a few pinches
-2 Tbsp sumac powder
-½ cup salted butter, divided
-½ cup honey
-½ cup water
1) Thaw your turkey. (If you choose to use a different size, this can take up to a few days at a safe refrigerated temperature.
2) Once your turkey is thawed, and about 24 hours before you plan to cook it, pat it dry with paper towels to prepare it for brining.
3) Make the dry brine by mixing ½ cup za’atar, salt and sumac powder. Cover the underside of the turkey, then the breast side, passing the mixture onto the sides or places it will not stick. Also rub some of the brine inside the cavity. Let sit uncovered in the fridge for 24 hours, give or take, before cooking.
4) Rinse the turkey of its brine, then rub with 1/4 cup soft butter all over the breast side.
5) Place the turkey in a roasting pan, with a rack, and ½ cup of water in the bottom of the pan. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey, and tie the legs together if you wish.
6) Preheat oven to 425 F and then cook the turkey for 40 minutes, or until the skin has browned all over, with the breast towards the back of the oven.
7) While the turkey is cooking, over low heat whisk together honey and remaining butter in a small saucepan, and set aside.
8) At this point, lower the oven temperature to 300 F. Depending on the size of the turkey your cook time will vary, but using a meat thermometer is the safest way to know you are not overcooking your turkey (thermometer will read 180 at thickest part of the thigh when cooked.)
9) When there is about 1 hour left of cooking, begin taking the turkey out every 20 minutes and brushing all over with honey butter glaze and sprinkling with za’atar and salt. Keep repeating the glaze and sprinkle until the turkey is cooked.
10) Let cool for 20 minutes before carving, and then slowly reheat pieces for serving.
Recipe courtesy of Think Turkey.