Panthea Winery & Vineyard

Food & Wine

Food & Wine

Food & Drink
Tamarind-glazed turkey: A welcome punch of holiday flavor
The Pilgrims would be jealous.

        America is not the only country with a holiday that’s about eating until you burst, said chef Pierre Thiam in Saveur. “At my Thanksgiving, I use American dishes as jumping-off points to pack in African flavor,” creating a feast that every November takes me back to my childhood in Senegal and the big meal we ate on Tamxarit, the Muslim New Year. I add spicy Scotch bonnet peppers to a butternut squash soup, make a pilaf with a grain called fonio, and mix mango into a pumpkin cake spiced with cinnamon and ginger.

        The centerpiece of these Brooklyn celebrations is always my tamarind-glazed -turkey—“similar to the ones my mother used to cook around Christmas.” In Senegal, sweet-and-sour tamarind is a treasured ingredient: The name of the nation’s capital, Dakar, is the Wolof word for the pod-like fruit. For this recipe, you want wet tamarind pulp, which is available online packed in small blocks; tamarind concentrate or tamarind syrup is too sweet. Scotch bonnet peppers add heat, while fish sauce gives the skin a “pleasantly sticky texture” and the meat a deep umami flavor.

Recipe of the week
Tamarind-glazed roast turkey
6 oz “wet” tamarind pulp, roughly chopped
¾ cup honey
¼ cup Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
12-lb whole turkey, rinsed and dried thoroughly
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp cornstarch

In a small bowl, cover tamarind pulp with ½ cup boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes to soften. Using fingers, break tamarind apart and then let stand for another 5 minutes. Pour tamarind into a fine sieve set over a medium bowl and then, using a rubber spatula or spoon, press pulp through the sieve, discarding remaining solids. Add honey, fish sauce, garlic, and chile to the tamarind liquid and stir into a smooth glaze; you should have 1½ cups.

Heat oven to 450. Place turkey on rack set in large roasting pan; season cavity and outside liberally with salt and pepper. Pour stock into pan and roast turkey until golden brown, about 1 hour. Reduce oven temperature to 350, cover turkey with foil, and roast until almost cooked through, 1 hour more. Uncover turkey and continue to roast, basting with ½ cup of the tamarind glaze every 10 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 160, about 30 minutes more.

Transfer turkey on its rack to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, pour pan juices into a small saucepan. In a small bowl, stir cornstarch with 2 tbsp cold water, and then stir the cornstarch slurry into the pan juices. Place pan over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring, until thickened into a gravy, about 5 minutes. Pour gravy through a fine sieve into a bowl and serve alongside the turkey. Serves 6 to 8.