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Recipe: Peruvian-spiced Christmas turkey

This is my version of the roasted turkey we had every Christmas back home. I used to marinate it with a pre-made spice mix, stout, and Coke (I know…). A while ago I tested a recipe for charcoal chicken and I thought “this tastes like Christmas turkey”, so I tweaked the recipe and the result was very damn close.

Peruvian-spiced Christmas turkey
Yield: 8 – 10 servings



  • 1 small turkey (~4 kg)


  • 4 litres water
  • 1 cup coarse rock salt


  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pisco (substitute grappa or brandy)
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ají panca paste (substitute any red chili paste)


  • 3 tablespoons butter


  1. Prepare the brine by mixing the salt and water in a large container. Rinse the turkey, place it in the container making sure it’s covered by the brine, and place in refrigerator for 24 hours.
  2. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 180°C.
  3. Mix the marinade ingredients in a blender or food processor.
  4. Rinse turkey and pat-dry. Rub with marinade and put it in a deep tray, breast side down.
  5. Top with dollops of butter and place in the oven. Cook for approximately 70 minutes, basting with the liquid every half an hour.
  6. Turn the turkey breast side up and cook for another 70 minutes, basting with the liquid every half an hour.
  7. Turn off oven, let turkey sit for 15 minutes or so. Then take it out and cover with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving.
  8. Enjoy with applesauce and your favourite salad.


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