Braised Turkey With Moroccan Spices

Braised Turkey With Moroccan Spices
4.5 from 2 ratings
This turkey adds some Moroccan spices, giving new life to tired ol' turkey. This recipe is by JeanMarie Brownson and was originally published in the Chicago Tribune.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total time: 2.73 hours
  • 1 turkey, 13 to 15 pounds
  • 2 tablespoon za'atar seasoning blend
  • 1 tablespoon each of ground cinnamon, turmeric
  • 2 teaspoon each of ground cumin, garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, optional
  • 2-3 carrots, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large bulb fresh fennel, stalks and fronds removed, bulb diced
  • 1 small leek, split, rinsed, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  1. Remove the giblets and neck packets from the cavity of the turkey.
  2. Rinse turkey well and pat dry.
  3. Cut the turkey in portions like you would a chicken: First remove the legs and cut them apart into drumsticks and thighs. Then cut off the wings. Use kitchen shears to cut out the back bone. Use a large knife or kitchen shears to carefully split the turkey breast down the middle into two halves.
  4. Put the giblets (not the liver), neck, wings and backbone into a large pot.
  5. Add cold water to cover by 2 inches, usually 3 quarts.
  6. Simmer, adding water if needed, 2 to 3 hours.
  7. Strain into a bowl, discarding the solids.
  8. Refrigerate broth for up to 3 days. You should have about 6 cups.
  9. Mix all the spices together in a small bowl.
  10. Rub the mixture on all sides of the turkey breast halves, thighs and drumsticks set on a baking sheet in a single layer. Rubbed turkey can be refrigerated, loosely covered, up to several days.
  11. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  12. Mix carrots, onion, fennel, leek, and garlic in the bottom of a large metal baking pan.
  13. Nestle the turkey parts into the vegetables in a single uncrowded layer.
  14. Sprinkle everything with salt.
  15. Put the pan in the oven.
  16. Carefully pour 3 to 4 cups of the turkey broth into the pan, taking care not to pour it over the rubbed turkey; you don't want to wash off the rub. The broth should come halfway up the sides of the meat.
  17. Cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted in the breast and the juices run clear, about 1 hour.
  18. Use tongs to remove breasts to a cutting board.
  19. Continue cooking the thighs and legs, 15-20 minutes.
  20. Arrange all the turkey pieces on a platter or cutting board.
  21. Let turkey rest about 10 minutes before slicing.
  22. Skim off and discard any fat from the pan juices.
  23. The juices can be thickened to make a gravy, using a cornstarch slurry (a tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in a little cold water).
  24. Serve the vegetables with the sliced turkey.