Garam Masala Spiced Turkey with Spiced Pan Jus


by Chef Laura Frankel

I am taking the flavors of Country Captain and reinterpreting them for Thanksgiving by rubbing my turkey with curry and warm toasty spices and roasting it instead of the Country Captain’s method of braising. I am going to riff on the captain by adding some of the traditional flavors to my Thanksgiving sides. This is a whole new Thanksgiving feast. I love the classic, but this Thanksgiving, the feast is getting a make-over!


For the Rub:
2 tablespoons Garam Masala*
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the Turkey:
4 onions, not peeled and rough cut
2 bulbs garlic, cut in half to expose the cloves
1 fennel bulb, rough cut
3 medium carrots, rough cut
3 celery ribs, rough cut
1 12-14 pound turkey, at room temperature<
1 lemon, cut in half
1 oragne, cut in quarters

For the Gravy:
1 15-ounce can coconut milk
1 tablespoon curry powder


Preheat the oven to 425

Make the Rub: Combine the rub ingredients and set aside.

Scatter the vegetables and the turkey neck on the bottom of a roasting pan. I do not use a V-rack or other single use contraptions. The veggies will keep the turkey from sitting in its juices and getting a “soggy” bottom!

Place the cut up lemon and orange into the cavity. Tie the legs together and tuck the wings underneath the bird. This will ensure a nicer shaped bird at the end of roasting and will help the turkey to roast evenly.

Rub the turkey, with the rub, all over including the bottom. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Place the turkey in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Decrease the temperature to 325 and continue roasting for another 2 ½-3 hours or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 160. Remove the turkey and lightly tent with foil and allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

Meanwhile, discard the vegetables at the bottom of the pan (they did their job by flavoring the drippings). Skim off the fat from the drippings and transfer to a sauce pan.

Add the coconut milk and curry powder to the turkey drippings and whisk together. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.


Yield: Serves 8-10

Recipes: Poultry, Turkey, Rub, Gravey, Kosher

*Garam Masala is a spice mixture used in Northern Indian cuisine. The mixture is pungent and fragrant, but not spicy-hot like chili peppers. I think the toasty spices complement the sweet natural flavors of turkey. Garam Masala can be purchased in most grocery stores or my favorite spice store on-line at

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