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Southwestern Roasted Turkey with Pan Gravy


Being a lover of Southwestern style foods, and I cook turkey every couple months, this recipe just happened over about 5 years, although I can't remember exactly when I finally wrote this recipe down (it is and will remain a work in progress as the years go by). It does make a very flavorful and juicy turkey and is almost perfect served with its own gravy and my Southwestern Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing. I'm not a fan of
stuffing the bird so I roast my dressing in a large baking dish (see my next recipe).

Rate this recipe 2.9/5 (14 Votes)


  • 8 large heads garlic
  • 3 large dried ancho chilies
  • 3 red jalapeno peppers
  • 1/2 cup walnut, corn, or other oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure cocoa powder
  • 1 lime
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 20 to 25 pound turkey
  • 1 lime cut in half
  • 1 Anaheim chili pepper cut in half and seeds removed
  • 1 stalk celery cut in half
  • 1 carrot cut in half
  • 2 sprigs cilantro
  • 1 sprig parsley
  • 3 tablespoons same oil as above
  • 3 pounds turkey neck, wings and giblets cut in 1 inch pieces
  • 1 coarse chopped yellow onion
  • 1 coarse chopped red onion
  • 3 stalks coarse chopped celery
  • 3 coarse chopped plum tomatoes
  • 2 coarse chopped Anaheim chili peppers
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 8 cups homemade or canned turkey broth
  • 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (if needed)
  • Coarse kosher or sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste


Level of difficulty Average
Cost Average budget


Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°F. Separate heads of garlic into individual cloves, don't peel. Poke each clove once with toothpick. Scatter garlic on baking sheet and roast til tender and starting to brown, about 25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Peel garlic and measure 1/2-cup packed, about 40 to 50 cloves. reserve any extras. Blend the 1/2 cup into a course puree. Tear anchos in pieces and mince jalapenos, removing seeds from both. Put both in small pan and add enough water to just cover. Simmer on medium-low til soft and most of water evaporates, about 15 minutes. Add with oil, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, honey, cocoa, and juice and
grated rind of lime to garlic in blender. Puree til it is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill.

Step 2

Pat turkey dry, season with salt and pepper. Slide hand under skin of turkey breast to loosen skin. Spread 1/2 cup garlic paste over breast under skin. Put
halved lime, pepper, celery, and carrot in turkey cavity with cilantro and parsley sprigs. Rub 1/4 cup of garlic paste all over outside of turkey. Reserve remaining paste for gravy. Tie legs together loosely to hold shape of turkey. Place on rack set in roasting pan.

Step 3

Position rack in lowest third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet on high. Add turkey pieces and onions, fry til browned, about 15 minutes. Place around turkey in pan with celery, tomato, chili pepper, peppercorns, salt, allspice, cloves, and any reserved garlic cloves to pan and pour in 2 cups broth. Roast turkey about 90 minutes. Tent turkey and entire pan loosely with heavy foil and continue to roast turkey til a thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 180 F and the juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced with a skewer, basting often with pan juices and about 4 more cups broth, about 1 hour 45 minutes longer for unstuffed turkey (about 2 1/2 hours longer for stuffed turkey). Put turkey on a platter, tent with foil and let stand at least 30 minutes. Reserve mixture in pan for gravy.

Step 4

Remove turkey parts from pan with tongs, reserve meat and giblets, discard bones, set meat aside. Pour pan contents into sieve set over large bowl. Press on
solids with a large spoon to squeeze out juicess. Spoon fat from strained pan juices, add enough broth to measure 6 cups. Stir reserved garlic-chili paste in
pan over medium-high heat until liquefied. Add flour and stir 3 to 5 minutes to cook out raw flour taste (mixture will be very thick). Gradually stir in the 6 cups broth mixture, whisking until smooth. Simmer til it is reduced to 5 cups and nicely thickened, about 20 minutes. Coarsely chop and add the reserved meat and giblets, season with cayenne, salt and pepper. Serve with turkey.

You can easily roast a nice assortment of vegetables in the roasting pan with the turkey, but they have to be checked often so as not to overcook them, removing when done and keeping hot til serving.
Use leftovers as you usually do when cooking a whole turkey.
Make a nice turkey stock from the bones and other bits remaining after removing most of the meat. Can it up or freeze it for future use.

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