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Recipes for the Holiday Table

Recipe: Forget a whole bird this Thanksgiving and roast turkey thighs with Middle Eastern spices

Roast Turkey Thighs with Middle Eastern Spices. Food styling by Sheryl Julian.Sally Pasley Vargas

Serves 6

Turkey thighs are hard to overcook even in a hot oven because there's some fat on the meat. If you sprinkle them with salt and refrigerate them overnight, uncovered, the skin will be especially crisp and the salt will penetrate the flesh and give it flavor. These thighs -- buy whatever you can find, large or small -- are seasoned with aromatic spices you might find in a Middle Eastern mix. Combine allspice, coriander, cumin, and chile powder and sprinkle them on skin that's been rubbed with olive oil. Roast them until the skin is dark and crisp and the flesh begins to pull away from the bone. A meat thermometer (a must-have) will register 175 degrees. Slice the meat off the bones and sprinkle them with cilantro and lemon juice. Thanksgiving never tasted so good.

3large or 6 small turkey thighs (about 5 pounds total)
Salt, to taste
1teaspoon ground allspice
1teaspoon ground coriander
1teaspoon ground cumin
1teaspoon ground chile powder
Olive oil (for sprinkling)
1bunch fresh cilantro (for garnish)
1 lemon, cut into wedges (for serving)

1. Have on hand a roasting pan that will hold all the turkey thighs with space around each one.

2. Pat the turkey thighs dry with paper towels. Sprinkle them all over with salt. Set in the roasting pan and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least half a day or for up to 24 hours.

3. Remove the thighs from the fridge. Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. If any juices accumulated in the bottom of the roasting pan, wipe them out with paper towels.

4. Set the oven at 375 degrees.

5. In a small bowl, combine the allspice, coriander, cumin, and chile powder. Rub the thighs all over with olive oil, then sprinkle the skin side with the spice mixture.

6. Roast the small thighs for 50 minutes, the large thighs for 60 to 65, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the meat (not the bone) registers 175 degrees. Let the turkey rest for 10 minutes.

7. Transfer the thighs to a cutting board and slice the meat off the bone. Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with some cilantro leaves. Garnish with the remaining cilantro sprigs and lemon.

Sheryl Julian

Serves 6

Turkey thighs are hard to overcook even in a hot oven because there's some fat on the meat. If you sprinkle them with salt and refrigerate them overnight, uncovered, the skin will be especially crisp and the salt will penetrate the flesh and give it flavor. These thighs -- buy whatever you can find, large or small -- are seasoned with aromatic spices you might find in a Middle Eastern mix. Combine allspice, coriander, cumin, and chile powder and sprinkle them on skin that's been rubbed with olive oil. Roast them until the skin is dark and crisp and the flesh begins to pull away from the bone. A meat thermometer (a must-have) will register 175 degrees. Slice the meat off the bones and sprinkle them with cilantro and lemon juice. Thanksgiving never tasted so good.

3large or 6 small turkey thighs (about 5 pounds total)
Salt, to taste
1teaspoon ground allspice
1teaspoon ground coriander
1teaspoon ground cumin
1teaspoon ground chile powder
Olive oil (for sprinkling)
1bunch fresh cilantro (for garnish)
1 lemon, cut into wedges (for serving)

1. Have on hand a roasting pan that will hold all the turkey thighs with space around each one.

2. Pat the turkey thighs dry with paper towels. Sprinkle them all over with salt. Set in the roasting pan and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least half a day or for up to 24 hours.

3. Remove the thighs from the fridge. Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. If any juices accumulated in the bottom of the roasting pan, wipe them out with paper towels.

4. Set the oven at 375 degrees.

5. In a small bowl, combine the allspice, coriander, cumin, and chile powder. Rub the thighs all over with olive oil, then sprinkle the skin side with the spice mixture.

6. Roast the small thighs for 50 minutes, the large thighs for 60 to 65, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the meat (not the bone) registers 175 degrees. Let the turkey rest for 10 minutes.

7. Transfer the thighs to a cutting board and slice the meat off the bone. Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with some cilantro leaves. Garnish with the remaining cilantro sprigs and lemon.Sheryl Julian


Sheryl Julian can be reached at sheryl.julian@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @sheryljulian.