Thanksgiving Turkey with a West African Twist to it, Fried or Roasted

Real Estate Agent with Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty AZDRE# BR642230000

Thanksgiving Turkey all done and ready to eatThanksgiving and Turkey was not part of my life growing up in a West African country. We had our own traditions like the annual harvest celebration, which celebrates bountiful harvest and fishing seasons which may be close to Thanksgiving.


First Thanksgiving Turkey

My first year in New York City, I was faced with cooking a thanksgiving meal. I am a great cook, if I must say so my self, so it did not take a lot of hassle to prepare the first year's thanksgiving meal.

I cooked the turkey just as most recipes said to do it, along side with a few sides. It was came out nice, well browned and could make the cover of a cooking magazine but like most turkeys, the breast and most of the meat inside was bland, you had to add some sauce to be able to enjoy it.



Lets the Thanksgiving Games Begin.

The next year was game on. I had to add some twists to it, to make it mine. I knew best how to cook with fresh herbs and famous African spices, so from them on it was all my way till now. I started with roasting on a roasting pan and ended up roasting on an oven pan with the rack which was flat, that kept the back of the bird flat for a platter but still drained all the juices. 

Well, 2 days ago, the day before Thanksgiving, i posted on  Facebook I was going to a marinate my turkey and a friend asked me if I was just using butter. I jumped to my feet and said no but then got a light bulb moment and decided to live blog on facebook, my process og marinating. It was such a fun process. It took much longer to get my marinating done because I had to stop to keep taking pictures with my cell phone to post.


After it was all done, I had so much material I decided to blog on Active Rain to bring it all together. So here we go.



Step 1.

All fresh ingredients except Anise seeds

Today, I had to substitute my habaneros with chile de arbol because they were out at the store

use fresh ingredients to create seasoning for turkey marinate




Step 2

Blend all fresh ingredients with a little bit of olive oil and water till smooth

I have to add the chile after when I am adding the salt be cause I substituted the habaneros

Blend all fresh ingredients with a little bit of olive oil and water till smooth 



Step 3 

Add salt to taste, you will not add salt to the bird again, so the sauce should taste just as you want it 

Spicy and Good to eat all by itself. It's about 35 oz or a little over 4 cups when done.

add salt to the blended sauce for turkey



Step 4 

Use a brush to spread the blended seasoning inside the turkey.

Stuff the cavity with fresh herbs mixed with the seasoning and fresh peeled ginger root (i used basil and rosemary because that is all I had - did not shop early)

fresh basil and rosemary to stuff inside the turkey Stuff fresh basil, rosemary and chunks of ginger inside the turkey



Step 5

Fun step, you get to stab without going to jail 

Use a small knife to create holes big enough to push the garlic through, the skin will cover the garlic so push all the way into it. 

NOTE: Cut and push garlic through immediately, I had to stop to take pictures


push garlic through slits in the turkey breast



Step 6

Spread the seasoning, start with the back and work your way around it

Put some though the knife slots you made earlier. Inject the turkey if you have a big enough needle for the blended spices.


Spread the blended seasoning allover the turkey brush seasoning all over the turkey



Step 7 

Prep a pan

I use the oven pan with the rack so water can drain the whole night and just the seasoning is left to marinate the turkey.



Step 8 

Almost ready for the fridge to marinate all night long. Wrap the whole thing with foil

Cover every part to prevent drying in the fridge


turkey all seasoned up 


Step 9

Put the wrapped turkey in the fridge for about 24 hours.


turkey all wrapped up for the fridge




I take it out at least an hour before to get to room temperature



Deep Frying Turkey

I deep fry mine using the Butterball Turkey Fryer, because it is electric and I don't have to worry about gas and oil.


deep frying turkey in an electric fryer



Final Product

Thanksgiving Turkey all done and ready to eat


Roasting Tip for Thanksgiving Turkey

If you want to roast in the oven, my old trick was put it in the oven STILL all covered with foil at 250 degrees for 8 to 10 hours (usually from 11pm) everyone wakes up to the smell in the morning.


Then about 2 hours to time to serve, take off foil except breast and thighs and increase to 350 to full brown.


Then remove the foil completely about 30 mins to done to allow the breast and thighs time to brown.


Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.


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This post was authored by Dorette Oppong-Takyi, a Phoenix Real Estate Consultant and Agent serving Ahwatukee, Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and Surrounding Areas

She can be reached on 480-442-0779, With her team, Dorette is able to ensure her clients have as smooth a transaction as possible

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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad


Sounds like you are creating your own wonderful tradition and a special variation of the classic turkey.

Hope your holiday was very special!


Nov 22, 2012 11:51 PM #1
Bill Reddington
Re/max Southern Realty - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Sounds terrific. Like the spice part. Sounds like you had a terrific Thanksgiving!

Nov 22, 2012 11:51 PM #2
Dorette Oppong-Takyi
Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
The perfect home is a means of self-expression

Thanks Jeff, it was, I hope your was as well

Thanks Bill. I did, I hope you had a wonderful time your self

Nov 22, 2012 11:57 PM #3
Edward & Celia Maddox
The Celtic Connection Realty - Queen Creek, AZ

Thanks for sharing the interesting receipes for Thanksgiving. Best Regards,

Nov 23, 2012 12:06 AM #4
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL

The holiday is a time of distraction, but also a time of opportunity. I hope you had a great time with family and friends with cooking like that you can't miss..

Nov 23, 2012 12:27 AM #5
Sally Weatherley
Vancouver Home Staging, Home Stager Vancouver, B.C

Oh Dorette - I'm so bookmarking this!  This is the most amazing turkey recipe I've ever seen.  Love that you use all fresh ingredients.  The flavours must be amazing.  I've never deep fried a turkey, but love the idea of roasting the turkey all night.  That would free up the oven for all the other things that need to be baked.  Thanks so much for taking the step by step photos - they really help to understand the process. 

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe - I have a feeling this may become a tradition in our household!

Nov 23, 2012 11:39 PM #6
Dorette Oppong-Takyi
Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
The perfect home is a means of self-expression

Great Sally, let me know how it goes. You can try with a whole chicken first to see how it comes out.

Better a small bird for the first run, lol

Nov 26, 2012 09:37 PM #7
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Dorette Oppong-Takyi

The perfect home is a means of self-expression
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