Turkey Marbella

SERVES: 10-12

This recipe utilizes two different cooking methods to optimize for juicy tender turkey meat through and through. Instead of roasting the bird whole you’ll first break it down into it’s essential parts. The easiest way to do this is to ask your butcher to do it for you–just tell them you want it broken down into 2 legs, and 1 double breast plate. You’ll first braise the legs in a delicious vinegary white wine marinade over low heat until tender. Then, you’ll increase the oven temp to 450 and throw the breasts into the mix. An hour later you’ve got perfectly cooked through, juicy breasts, and tender fall of the bone legs–the ultimate Thanksgiving dream.

Active Time: 30 Mins

Total Time: 3.5 hrs



  • 2 heads garlic
  • 1 ¼ pounds medium shallots
  • 8 large sprigs thyme


  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces medjool dates, (10 dates)
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 750 ml bottle dry white wine
  • 1½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 10 ounces pitted castelvetrano olives
  • 2 ½ cups Israeli couscous or fregola


  • 1 whole turkey (14-16 pounds) (broken down, see headnote)

1. Make the marinade:

  • In a small bowl, stir together ½ cup salt, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and lots of black pepper. Pat 2 bone in, skin-on turkey legs and 1 bone in skin double breast plate. Set them on a wire rack inside a baking sheet and season all over with the mixture. Chill uncovered overnight and up to 48 hours.

2. Do some prep:

  • Cut 2 heads garlic in half crosswise
  • Peel and halve 1 ¼ pounds shallots.
  • Pit and tear 6 ounces of medjool dates.

3.Braise the legs:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a large roasting pan (or foil roasting pan) stir together, ⅔ cup olive oil, 1 ½ cups sherry vinegar,1 bottle white wine, 1 ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon salt.
  • Add the shallots, halved garlic, dates, 8 thyme sprigs with 1 ½ cups pitted castelvetrano olives.
  • Add the turkey legs only; turn to coat and let sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.
  • Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and transfer to the oven. Cook, making sure the oven does not get hotter than 325 by checking occasionally, until the legs are tender, the skin has shrunk back and the meat falls off the bone when prodded with a fork, 2 to 2 ½ hrs.

4. Roast the breasts and finish:

  • Increase oven temperature to 425 and remove foil. Add the turkey breast to the center of the roasting pan, scooting the legs aside to make room. Spoon some of the braising liquid over the breasts, return to the oven and continue roasting until turning brown in places, 20 minutes more.
  • Remove from the oven. Add 1 cup of water to the braising liquid, and sprinkle 2½ cups Israeli couscous around and under the turkey, using a spoon to help you distribute the couscous into the cooking liquid. Return to the oven (still uncovered) and roast, 25-35 more, until the turkey skin is burnished and deeply golden brown, the couscous is tender, and an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast where it meets the breast bone registers 145. (It will continue to cook internally, don’t worry!)

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