Sharing Food and Memories with Friends and Family

November 18, 2015
Irene Saiger


Garlic Turkey

IMG_1587I first posted this recipe on November 18, 2012.  Since then, Norm and I have experienced loss, but we have also experienced great joy. With Thanksgiving just a week away, it is time to take stock. This year we are especially grateful to have our health, but even good health would be less important without our wonderful children, our daughter-in-law, our son’s girlfriend Anna, our granddaughter, our siblings, our extended family, and of course, our friends.  Next week we will be surrounded by many of the people we love,  missing those who can’t be with us. We will ask everyone at the table what they are thankful for, and some will say what they say each year, that they are thankful that we are together.  But this Thanksgiving, with many of us feeling so vulnerable, I don’t think those words will  be taken quite as lightly. This year we won’t take Thanksgiving for granted. This year we may even say Amen.

Nov. 18, 2012  At 5:40 this morning we drove our friends to the airport.  They were flying to Boston to be with their “East coast” family for Thanksgiving.  On Wednesday we will return to LAX to pick up my daughter, and on Thursday to pick up my youngest son.  It’s the wonderful pull of Thanksgiving, being with the family and hanging out in kitchens where the smells are familiar.  Today I started baking, and so this morning my kitchen smelled like cinnamon and allspice from the pumpkin breads in the oven.  This afternoon it smelled of apples and dried cherries baking inside puff pastry squares that I folded into individual turnovers.  On Thanksgiving day the kitchen will smell like the mulling spices simmering in the pot of apple cider on the stove top, but as soon as the fridge door is opened,  the predominant smell will be the garlic that was rubbed into the turkey on Wednesday morning.  That specific smell of garlic-covered poultry is embedded in my memory because it is the smell that I most closely associate with my mother’s kitchen.  The smell that signaled it was Shabbat,  Yontif, and yes, Thanksgiving.  On Thursday the kitchen will smell both savory and sweet, depending if you are  standing near the oven or closer to the kitchen table covered with desserts.  I love the old recipes combined with an occasional new one, it sets the mood and gives me the perfect opportunity to remember and be thankful for what we had, what we have, and what we look forward to.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Garlic Turkey 

(Mixture for a 15 pound turkey)

1 Tb kosher salt
1 Tb. paprika
2 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup  olive oil
2 whole heads garlic, peeled and minced

Mix all ingredients together until you have a paste-like consistency.  It should be red from the paprika and thick, almost like tomato paste.  Rub the garlic mixture on the inside and outside of the turkey and let marinate in fridge overnight.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place turkey in a roasting pan, breast down, with about 2 ” of water on the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 30 minutes and then baste with liquid.  Add more water to pan if necessary.  Lower heat to 350 degrees.  Continue to add liquid to roasting pan as needed and baste about every 30 minutes.  When turkey is golden brown, turn breast side up and finish roasting. Total baking time is about 3 hours depending on size of the bird.



14 thoughts on “Garlic Turkey

  1. How do you make the ‘apples and dried cherries baking inside puff pastry squares’? Thank you

    • Hi! I have to find that post but basically you peel and slice your apples and saute in fat of you choice. Plump up your dried cherries in some apple juice or orange juice and add to apples. Fill a heaping tablespoon into center of square and brush a little egg or water around edge of pastry. Fold over and make sure seam is tight. Hope that helps.

  2. Hello, Irene,

    Thanksgiving is almost here again and I will be making your recipe, again, otherwise it’s not Thanksgiving, I was told. This year, I will be making half a turkey, because I am making it twice. How long do you think the half turkey should roast for? Thank you

    • Hi!!

      That’s so nice to hear, thank you!! I have never done a half and again, it depends on the size of the turkey:? I bought 2 15 pound turkeys so if I was roasting 7 pounds I would still do 1 3/4 hour but I do think you should really use a thermometer in your case because you don’t want to overcook it. 165 I think is the correct temp but please double check that on line.

      Happy Thanksgiving!!

  3. Great recipe!
    This post was chosen to be included in the very latest roundup of  Jewish and Israeli Blog Posts, aka Havel Havelim, which now comes out every few weeks. Please visit, comment and share thanks. And you’re very welcome to get more involved in the Jewish blogging community.

  4. You’ve got to stop writing these things that make me cry!! I can vouch for that turkey — I’ve made it many, many times. We are so lucky to have our friends and family — thanks for reminding us! Love you!

  5. Can I get your apple cider recipe please?? 🙂 love you!

  6. Yum can I get your mulled spice recipe???

    • Haha! No recipe. I take two tablespoons of any kind of mulled cider blend. Look on line but basically cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and heat it with apple cider over a low flame. When serving add some rum or bourbon.

      Are you coming for appetizers??? We miss your smile around here!

  7. I agree. Thanksgiving will have a different flavor this year. You and Norman are fortunate to be surrounded by your extraordinary children and wonderful friends. We will miss you. Have a sweet Thanksgiving.

    Love, your shvester

  8. I agree. We will miss you as well. But you will be surrounded by your extraordinary children and wonderful friends. Have a sweet and delicious Thanksgiving.

    Love, your shvester

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