The Holiday Flavors of Rioja Wine: Spanish Spiced Turkey
Celebrate the holidays in a delicious new way with Spanish Spiced Turkey and Rioja Wines!
Truly I’m on a turkey spree since I posted my Perfect Spatchcock Turkey yesterday, and now this delicious Spanish Spiced Turkey recipe today. As far as I’m concerned, Thanksgiving is mainly about the turkey. Add the mashed potatoes, gravy, and plenty of pie, and you’ve got the makings of a great day. And let’s not forget the drinks!
Rioja wines would be wonderful to pair with your favorite holiday fare. Hailing from North-Central Spain, Rioja refers to the wine as well as the region it comes from. They’re made mainly from the Tempranillo grape, and are one of only two D.O.C regions in Spain. They’re always regulated so you can be sure you are buying a quality bottle every time.
Why Rioja wine when there is Burgundy’s Pinot Noir or Piedmont’s Barbaresco? It’s simple: Rioja wines are versatile and affordable. You don’t have to break the bank on wine for your holiday dinner and no need stress out about ten different bottles of wine to pair with each course. Choose from juicy rosado wines, crisp blancos, or elegant reds ranging from lighter to robust with spice.
Make your holidays extra special by adding some Spanish flair inspired by Cosecha and Crianza Rioja wines. Simply rub your turkey with a blend of warm spices and smoked Spanish paprika, then stuff the bird with dried fruits soaked in an orange sauce and use the same sauce to baste the meat as it roasts.
Cosecha wines are the perfect starter glass to your dinners. Fresh, fruity, and not too heavy, they pair well with appetizers, white meats, and simple pastas without overwhelming your palate with rich flavors. Rioja’s Crianza classification lets you know that each and every wine is at least three years old and has been aged in casks for a year or more.
Lighter Rioja red wines often have hints of smoke, only slight notes of oak aging, and plenty of ripe berry flavors. Dishes, like this turkey recipe, with orange zest and warm baking spices are natural pairings with these Rioja wines.
Check out the video below for holiday inspiration with Rioja wines.
- 1 turkey
- 4 quarts water
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup sugar
- Carrots & Onions for roasting
- Fresh thyme
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1 small yellow onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Salt, to taste
- Honey, to taste
- 4 cups stock
- orange zest
- ¼ cup prunes
- ¼ cup pine Nuts
- ¼ cup apricots
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- salt, to taste
- Bring the water, sugar and salt to a boil. Cool completely, then immerse the turkey in the brining liquid for about an hour.
- In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium heat until golden.
- In a saute pan, cook the onions & garlic until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Add orange juice and stock and reduce by ⅓, stirring frequently.
- Season with honey and salt according to your preference, then pour over the apricots and prunes and allow fruit to soak.
- Strain the fruit, reserving the liquid, and stir in the toasted pine nuts. Using cheesecloth and string, wrap and tie the prunes, apricots and pine nuts into a bundle.
- Combine the spices in a bowl.
- Stuff bird, sitting in a roasting pan with the bundle, and rub with spices. Arrange onions, carrots, and fresh thyme around the turkey.
- Roast at 375 degrees for about 2 hours, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees, basting occasionally with the strained orange sauce while roasting.
- When serving, remove the cheesecloth insert and arrange its contents around the turkey with the carrots and onions. Garnish with fresh thyme.