Bon Appétit (November 2011)
Modern Family, Season 2 Episode 6:
Claire: I’m not done! So not done! Look, here's the thing. We have fireworks at Christmas now because that’s what they do in Colombia. I don’t mind. Thanksgiving? That used to be me, roasting a turkey, until the gays took it over with whatever new turkey-cooking craze it is that you saw on the Food Network. And I’m fine with that too. All I ask, all I ask, is that you leave me Halloween. Yeah, Halloween. I realize it is a crazy-ass holiday for a grown woman to care about this much, but it’s my crazy-ass holiday. Mine!
Cam: That’s a lot of complaining from somebody who asked for thirds of our tandoori turkey last year.
Ladies and gentlemen: Our tandoori turkey.
We wrote earlier about how much we enjoyed Bon Appétit's Thanksgiving issue this year. The magazine featured several really inventive dishes, any of which would put a fun new spin on your Thanksgiving menu.
We were especially intrigued by this Tandoori Turkey. The heat and bold spices of Indian cuisine seemed like an excellent twist on a traditional Thanksgiving bird.
When you look at this recipe, the first thing you're going to think is, "Woah! That's a lot of ingredients!" And you're absolutely correct.
But we made two major substitutions for this recipe that made our lives immeasurably easier: We bought pre-made spice mixes of Garam Masala and Tandoori Masala. Now, normally, that's not our style. We like to follow recipes as closely as possible. And believe it or not, we actually enjoy tracking down obscure and unfamiliar ingredients (ajwain seeds, anyone?). But for this recipe, we figured we already had enough going on with the rest of Thanksgiving dinner. Plus, we made a whole other turkey! So we cut ourselves some slack and went with pre-made spices.
Once you eliminate the make-your-own masalas, this recipe is actually pretty easy. Throw together the yogurt marinade, and marinate the turkey overnight. The day-of roasting is totally by-the-book: Roast for a little while at a high temp, turn the temp down until the bird is cooked, then uncover and turn the heat back up to finish. (One note: Definitely follow the instructions regarding a roasting bag here. This recipe would be an impossible mess without it.) While the turkey cools, reduce the pan juices to make a gravy.
How'd it turn out? Great!
Needless to say, this isn't your grandma's turkey (unless your grandmother was, say, Indira Gandhi). If you're looking for familiar, nostalgic Thanksgiving flavors, well, this ain't it. Several of our dinner guests told us that if this were the only turkey they got at Thanksgiving, they might be disappointed because it's such a diversion from tradition.
But if you want to push the envelope a little this year, you can't go wrong with this Tandoori Turkey. The earthy, exotic Indian spices are a delicious way to dress up a familiar favorite.
And your guests just might ask for thirds.
2 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 3”–4” cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
1/4 teaspoon ajwain seeds
24 bay leaves, crumbled
3 tablespoons black cardamom pods
2 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 1/2 tablespoons green cardamom pods
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons ajwain seeds
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 3"–4" cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
1 12–14-pound turkey
1/4 cup kosher salt
5 black cardamom pods
5 green cardamom pods
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 garlic cloves
4 cups (1 quart) plain whole-milk yogurt
1/2 cup chopped peeled ginger
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup paprika
2 tablespoons tandoori masala
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
All spices can be found at Indian markets and kalustyans.com.
A turkey roasting bag
Toast spices in a skillet over medium heat, swirling often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool. Working in batches, finely grind mixture in a spice mill. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 month ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Toast spices in a skillet over medium heat, swirling often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool. Working in batches, finely grind mixture in a spice mill. Sift through a medium-mesh strainer into a small bowl; stir to combine. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 month ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Rub inside and out with salt; transfer to roasting bag. Stuff turkey with cardamom pods and cumin seeds, then onion, celery, and garlic.
Purée all ingredients in a blender. Pour marinade into roasting bag. Smear all over turkey. Tie bag and arrange turkey, breast side down, in a large heavy roasting pan. Refrigerate overnight.
Let turkey stand in a bag at room temperature for 1 hour. Turn breast side up. Create steam holes in bag if required by manufacturer's instructions.
Preheat oven to 400°. Roast turkey for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (puncturing bag with thermometer) registers 160°, about 1 1/2 hours longer. Cut top of bag open, being careful of steam and juices, and pull back over turkey. Roast turkey until breast is deeply browned but not burned and a thermometer inserted into thigh registers 165°, 15–30 minutes longer.
Transfer to a platter. Let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
Meanwhile, strain juices into a large saucepan. Spoon fat from surface. Simmer over medium heat until sauce is reduced to 3 1/2 cups, about 20 minutes.
Carve turkey. Serve with accompanying gravy.