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Southwestern Roasted Turkey

Recipe: Southwestern Roasted Turkey


    I've never made the same thing twice for Thanksgiving. I've always had turkey but it's never been prepared the same way twice. I've always had mashed potatoes but I doctor them up with something--maybe roasted leeks, or Parmesan cheese and black pepper. The list goes on and on because I've been making Thanksgiving dinner for about 25 years now. I've made different side dishes and desserts every year too.

    Here is an option for a Southwestern Thanksgiving, Zola-style. Don't worry. My concept doesn't involve throwing out your traditions (at least not all of them). I'm suggesting the option of having a new style of turkey and a southwestern corn pudding (see Zippy Corn Pudding in "Side Dishes") on the side, and then serve all the other side dishes you normally would. It just puts a new twist on Thanksgiving. This preparation is oh, so easy, and the corn pudding can even be prepped the day before so all you have to do is pop it in the oven. I've left the turkey unstuffed so you can stuff it whatever way you want or put your stuffing in a casserole. Put some ZIP in your Thanksgiving this year . . . and a few peppers too! Then hit the shopping on Friday!

Serves 8


    1 15-pound fresh or thawed turkey (or larger; 15 pounds will provide a few leftovers)
    Butter-flavored spray
    Southwestern meat rub (Urban Accents--Mesa Rosa Chipotle flavor is one.)
    3 10-oz cans mild red enchilada sauce
    6 green onions chopped into quarter-inch slices with some of the green part included
    1 mild yellow or red chili, sliced thinly (No seeds. You choose your chili type. Anaheim is one choice.)


    Rinse off your turkey and take out the neck and giblets. Save them for another use or toss. Rinse turkey again. Spray your roasting pan with butter-flavored spray and liberally spray the turkey, breast-side up in the pan. If you don't like using spray, just grease up your turkey with butter. Now sprinkle on the meat rub. I cover the turkey pretty thoroughly but how much you use depends on how much spice you like.

    Roast the turkey according to your usual method. One choice is 325 degrees. It should take about 4 hours for a 15-pound turkey. Use a meat thermometer and watch for it to hit the poultry temperature indicating that it's done.

    While it's roasting you have a couple of minor things to do. After about 2 hours check to see how brown it has gotten. You will probably want to cover it lightly with aluminum foil to keep it from browning too much more at this point. At the 3-hour point, take off the foil tent and toss it. Open your enchilada sauce and pour the first can over the turkey. The spices will have crusted onto the outside so the enchilada sauce will just glaze the turkey and roll off the sides. Pour the other two cans around the sides. This is going to become your "gravy." The juices from the turkey will seep out into the enchilada sauce and it will make a really nice sauce to serve with your turkey. In the last hour, you can baste your turkey about every 15 minutes with the sauce that has accumulated in the bottom of the pan. When cooked, your turkey will have a beautiful mahogany color.

    Take the turkey out of the oven and let it sit on the platter for about 15 minutes before you carve it. Put the "gravy" in a saucepan; heat it until it boils and then just keep it warm. You can serve it in your regular gravy boat.

Serving Suggestions:

    Sprinkle the pepper rings and green onion chunks around and on top of your turkey for a festive look. You can also sprinkle them on the platter to serve them with the meat if you want. Be sure to show off your turkey before you carve it so everyone can Ooh and Ahh.


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