Last Updated on June 25, 2022
How To Cook a Turkey With Lebanese Style
Christmas is around the corner and Mama’s turkey is the main feast that all our family is patiently waiting for. And so are her friends. You could certainly call it Lebanese as my wife jokingly says since it has the 7-spices, but this is a recipe that mom cooked and perfected for decades using a creative blend of techniques and ingredients from different cuisines.
Mama’s roasted turkey has a deeply satisfying earthy aroma that is a bit unconventional compared to the sweet flavors coming along with American Turkey recipes. The deep flavoring in this case mostly emanates from her special mix of herbs and spices in addition to starchy vegetables in the gravy.
Add to that an amazing side of “hashweh” rice made with beef, and spices, and garnished with an ocean of fried almonds, pistachios, chestnuts and pine nuts.
Turkey Cooking Time
In writing about the dish I forgot one important question that is probably hitting your head right now, which is how long do you cook a turkey? Though you will get the desired information in the “ Instruction” there are a few things to explain.
The time of cooking a turkey depends upon its size. The larger the size, the longer it will take to fully prepare it for serving. Here is the list of the sizes and cooking times of the dish. If the temperature remains the same.
Here are a few useful tips for you while cooking a turkey
People have different flavors to enjoy food. Some love to have crispy and crunchy food while other differs almost 180 degrees. So, here we are with a few tips to make the dish explicitly delicious.
Don’t Use Juice If You Love To Have Crispy Roasted Turkey
Some people love to eat crispy stuff. If you are one of them I recommend you not to use any sort of Juice. Before you put the bird into the oven, rub fat all over it. Once it’s done, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes.
If you think you might be done with the turkey in 15 minutes, Start taking its temperature. You can use an instant-read thermometer. Make sure you don’t touch any bones while inserting the instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh and under the wing.
My mouth is watering as I write, so on to the recipe my friends…
How to Cook a Turkey, Lebanese Style
- Whole Turkey Cleaned 10 lbs
- Lebanese 7 spices 2 table spoons
- Cinnamon powder 1 table spoon
- Bouquet Garni herb leave mix such as thyme, rosemary, savory, bay leaf..etc , 5 table spoons
- Salted Butter 100-200 grams (1/4 to 1/2 lb)
- A dash of salt
Garnish of Nuts, Ingredients
- Pine Nuts 1/2lbs
- Almond Halves 1/2lbs
- Green Pistachio 1/2lbs
- Raw Chestnuts peeled 1.5lbs
- A dash of salt
- Vegetable oil for light frying
- Raw Chestnuts peeled 1.5lbs
- Carrots cleaned and chopped 1lb
- Leek cleaned and cut, 1 cup
- Celery cleaned and cut 1 cup
- 1 Large onion peeled and cut
- 1 medium size potatoe peeled and cut into cubes
- Butter 1/2 lb
- Lebanese 7 spices 5 table spoons
- Salt to taste 1/2 to 2 teaspoon
Hashweh Rice Ingredients
- 1 Medium onion chopped
- Finely ground beef 100% lean 1 lb
- Salt 1 teaspoon
- Lebanese 7 spices 1 table spoon
- Gravy 1.5 cups
- Rinsed and strained rice 4 cups
Preparing the Nuts
- Warm some vegetable oil in a frying pan, add all nuts and fry on medium heat until they turn golden. You may fry the nuts one category at a time.
- Place the nuts in a strainer for later use as a garnish.
- Rinse the turkey with cold water, rub with salt and some flour then rinse again.
- Rub the insides and outsides of the turkey with about 1/4 lb of butter, then rub it with all of the allotted spices (cinnamon, 7-spices, bouquet garni herb leaves etc..).
- Rub butter over a large aluminum foil and wrap the turkey tightly with it.
- Place the wrapped turkey on a tray in the center of an oven pre-heated to 500F and cook for 10 minutes.
- Lower heat to 350F (less than medium), and cook for 1.5 hours.
- Pull the turkey out of the oven very carefully and empty the melted butter and juices from the tray into a separate pot.
- Unrap the turkey, rub it with butter again inside and out (watch your hands), wrap it back with the aluminum foil and back in the oven for another 3 hours.
- Plan your timings so that the turkey finishes cooking about 30mins prior to serving time.
- On a large aluminum foil rubbed with butter, pour all of the gravy ingredients.
- Mix well then wrap the foil tightly and place in the oven (on an optional tray) while the turkey is cooking for 30-45 minutes. We don't need to fully cook the ingredients here, but just tenderize them a bit.
- Empty the ingredients in the pot where you previously saved the melted turkey
- butter/juice, add 3-4 cups of water and boil gently until the veggies are fully cooked and
- soft. Leave contents in pot until it cools down.
- Grind finely in a food processor.
- Place contents back into pot and cover until serving time when you would reheat a few mins prior to serving.
Hashweh Rice Method
- In a pot, sautee the finely chopped onions on medium heat with some butter or vegetable oil until they start turning golden.
- Add the ground beef, salt and 7-spices, sttir well until the beef starts pinkish/brownish.
- Add the rice and stir well.
- Add 1.5 cups of gravy made in the above step and stir well.
- Add 4.5 cups of water, stir well. As soon as the pot boils, lower heat to minimum, cover and let
- simmer for 15 minutes or until fully cooked.
Serving the Feast
- Place cooked rice in a large serving tray and garnish with the fried nuts following this optional order: almonds on the outer layers, then pistachio, then pine nuts in the middle. And garnish the sides of the tray with the fried chestnuts.
- If your tray is large enough you can place the turkey in the middle, or you can place it on a separate tray along with the warmed gravy.
- Serve with love.
What is your recipe for the bouquet garni? I know it can be any combination but I am interested in an approximation. Thanks always love your recipes!