Let this Moroccan Spice Turkey be the star of the show on Thanksgiving.
I know that a Moroccan Spice Turkey might sounds a little out there, but I promise that this recipe embraces a bold combination of spices while still pairing well with your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes. And the gravy is exceptionally good.
This recipe starts with blending spices like cumin, ginger, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and coriander seeds. Then you rub the turkey with butter, sprinkle it with the spice mixture, and mix up a simple basting liquid. The turkey is basted in a mixture of orange juice, lemon juice, garlic, sage, and spices.
The flavors of the sage and citrus work their way into the gravy and blend with the turkey drippings for a rich tasting gravy that is delicious over the mashed potatoes.
My sister, mother, and I took a girls trip to Morocco in March and it was one of the most memorable travel experiences of my life. We shopped in the markets in Marrakesh, rode camels in the Sahara Desert, and even took a cooking class. We loved the way Moroccan cuisine utilizes a wide variety of spices. Instead of using a couple spices and letting them stand out, many recipes in Morocco use a wide variety of spices that blend together. Our trip to Morocco was the inspiration for this recipe. I wanted to combine a Moroccan blend of spices with Thanksgiving turkey, and we loved the result.
After my pre-Thanksgiving party/blog post photo shoot I used the bones and extra turkey to make soup. I left the lemons and sage right in the turkey when I made the stock and it was infused with a wonderful citrus flavor. I will be sharing the recipe soon!
Moroccan Spice Turkey
This Moroccan Spice Turkey recipe starts with blending spices like cumin, ginger, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and coriander seeds. Then you rub the turkey with butter, sprinkle it with the spice mixture, and mix up a simple basting liquid. The turkey is basted in a mixture of orange juice, lemon juice, garlic, sage, and spices.
- 1 head of Garlic
- 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 3/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Coriander Seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
- 1 Turkey about 14 pounds
- 1/2 cup Orange Juice
- 1/2 cup Lemon Juice
- 4 sprigs of Fresh Sage plus 1 tablespoon Chopped Sage
- 1 tablespoon Butter at room temperature.
- 2 Quartered Lemons
- about 6 cups of Chicken Broth
This recipe begins with roasting a head of garlic. Slice the root end off the garlic. Place the garlic in foil and drizzle the olive oil over the garlic. Roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Let garlic cool then remove the cloves of garlic, place them in a bowl, and crush with a fork. Increase the temperature of the oven to 500 degrees.
While the garlic is roasting, remove the turkey from the fridge, rinse it and pat it dry with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper inside of the turkey. Let the turkey sit out and come closer to room temperature while the garlic is roasting.
Next make a spice blend called Ras El Hanout. To prepare it just mix the cumin, ginger, salt, pepper, cinnamon, coriander seeds, cayenne, allspice, and cloves together.
Now make a basting liquid for the turkey. Whisk the crushed garlic, lemon juice, orange juice, chopped sage, and 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture together. Set aside.
Stuff the turkey with the quartered lemon and sprigs of sage.
I like to wrap some foil around the drumsticks to help prevent them from drying out. Then I use butchers twine to tie the drumsticks together. Place the turkey in a roasting pan.
Cover the turkey in the butter, and then sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the spice mixture over. Then brush with the basting liquid.
Add 2 cups of chicken broth to the bottom of the pan, this prevents the pan drippings from burning and helps to make a base for the gravy.
Place the turkey in the oven to roast at 500 degrees for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, cover the turkey in foil to prevent it from getting too browned. Add more chicken broth to the bottom of the pan if necessary, and generously baste the turkey with the basting liquid.
Roast the turkey at 350 degrees for another 2 - 2 1/2 hours, and baste it every 30 minutes. Continue to add chicken broth to the bottom of the pan as necessary. Once a thermometer played in the inner thigh of the turkey reaches 165 degrees, remove the turkey from the oven.
Remove the turkey from the pan and cover it with foil. Use a spatula to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Pour all of the pan drippings through a strainer and into a clear container. Then melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Whisk in 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour, stirring frequently for 2 minutes until it reaches a paste like consistency. Use a baster to suck up all the pan drippings below the line of fat that will rise to the top. Whisk together and bring to a simmer and let the gravy thicken. If necessary, add chicken broth to thin the gravy.
Carve the turkey and serve it with the gravy.
Adapted from Food & Wine.