Smoked paprika is the key to the turkey rub in this recipe. It can be purchased in gourmet markets and online at www.tienda.com. Roasting the bird breast-side down for the first half keeps the breast meat succulent and moist.
Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 350 degrees F.
Mix paprika, ground cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper in a small bowl; stir in 2 tablespoons water to make a paste. Rub the mixture all over the turkey, particularly under the skin and onto the breast meat.
Place the turkey breast-side down on a roasting rack in a large roasting pan. Add 2 cups water to the pan. Roast for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the turkey from the oven and turn it over--either use silicon oven gloves or cover the bird with foil and use cloth oven mitts to turn it over. Continue roasting, basting occasionally with pan juices, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 180 degrees F, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours more. If the bird is browning too deeply, tent with foil while it continues to bake. If the pan runs out of juices, add about 1/2 cup water, scrape up any browned bits, and use this liquid for basting. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before carving.
Tip: Toast cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Grind in a spice mill or blender into a fine powder.
3 1/2 lean meat