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This is one of the best turkey recipes I have ever had! What a flavorful, tender, and spicy bird! If you are bored with a traditional recipe, you will NOT be disappointed with this one. While I found the recipe rather involved and time consuming, it was worth every minute. But, don’t skimp on the quality of turkey. It’s worth every penny to invest in a free-range, fresh bird from a local farm. Not only to you support your local farmers and environment, but you also support a higher quality of life for the bird. Serve with Cranberry Apple Chutney.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.


Tandoori Masala

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon mixed colored peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek seed
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ajwain seeds
  • 1 12–14-pound fresh (NOT frozen), free-range, organic turkey
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 10 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 high quality bottled lime juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons tandoori masala (see recipe above)
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala (use store bought)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Tandoori Masala. Toast spices in a skillet over medium heat, swirling often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool. Grind, using a spice mill or a mortar and pestle.
  2. Turkey. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Rub inside and out with salt. Stuff turkey with cardamom pods and cumin seeds, then onion, celery, and garlic. Transfer to a large marinade bag.
  3. Marinade. Purée all ingredients in a blender. Pour marinade into marinade bag. Smear all over turkey. Tie bag and arrange turkey, breast side down. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Roasting. Let turkey stand in a bag at room temperature for 1 hour. Turn breast side up and place turkey (and all of the marinade) in a large roasting pan. Cover and seal well with heavy duty aluminum foil. 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. Remove aluminum foil and 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.
  5. Gravy. Strain juices into a large saucepan. Spoon fat from surface. Simmer over medium heat until sauce is reduced to 3 1/2 cups, about  40 minutes.
  6. Carve turkey. Serve with accompanying gravy.