29 Nov2006


I bet 99% of you wouldn’t have guessed that the Chinese Five Spice Powder that I made in the previous post was a critical requirement for this fabulous looking and tasting turkey… Yturk4up, I have cooked this turkey recipe at least three times since I first saw it in the 2002 Thanksgiving Issue of Gourmet Magazine and their recipe is now, thankfully, on-line. It is extremely simple to do and results in a burnished, Copacabana-tanned skin that is incredibly appetizing, with the most flavorful of gravies. The fact that the recipe includes Damson Plum jam makes it a real keeper. It is a Marketman favorite. This 12 pound bird (don’t you just hate it when they aren’t 20-25 pounds at least – I mean who really wants to cook a petite Turkey??!) took just 2 hours and 40 minutes to cook (stuffing cooked separately). As it was roasting, we made a couple of different types of stuffing. Throw in some baked sweet potatoes and perhaps one green vegetable dish and you have an “express” Thanksgiving meal. If you are looking for a nice holiday meal this December, this is a definite option. Not much fuss, very little last minute preparation and impressive looking results… Totally doable in Manila.


Turkey in general is a reasonably priced meat. For just over PHP1,000, a frozen (as opposed to fresh, which are noticeably better but a rarity in these parts…) turkey can be had at any of the major supermarkets. If you have the time and want to go that extra turk3step, defrost the turkey in the fridge overnight, then stick it in a huge pot of cold water with 1 cup of dissolved rock salt and let it brine overnight in the fridge. Rinse the turkey off the next day and pat it dry…you are ready to proceed with the Gourmet Magazine recipe. Brining makes the meat more succulent and I brine chickens, turkeys and pork when I have the time. The 12 pound turkey should easily feed 8 guests. We used the leftovers in a turkey and ham soup that really hit the spot. Don’t forget to throw the turkey carcass into the boiling broth as it has great flavor as well! As for the discussion over light vs. dark meat…I think U.S. commercially raised turkeys are like U.S. commercially raised chickens…more and more all of the meat is starting to taste the same…



  1. connie says:

    My guess was a duck or a cornish hen, I should have think bigger, way bigger! I might try this recipe for Christmas, I’m just ready for a totally different tasting turkey. Thanks, MM. This is realy cool!

    Nov 29, 2006 | 2:53 pm


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  3. Christine says:

    That looks deelish!

    Nov 29, 2006 | 4:24 pm

  4. tulip says:

    I’m part of the 1%!!I was actually hoping it was for a turkey, as you have previously said that you’ll be posting some requested dishes from us. I am one of the many who’ve requested for turkey recipes! But it is still a surprise since Thanksgiving is over. Though I have to forego turkey for the next holiday,since I am all stuffed with leftovers from a Roast Turkey and a local dish Duck Karangkang, this is terrific!!!

    By the way, Marketman, you may even purchased newly slaughtered turkey from the Central Luzon provinces. I usually get mine from the farm since we have few pabo roaming around.And it’s huge!!!

    Nov 29, 2006 | 4:45 pm

  5. millety says:

    that’s a mean-looking turkey! like connie, i thought you used the 5-spice powder for duck with plum jam or hoisin. this looks like turkey i would love, although i prefer capons. but since capons are hard to come by these days (in my city, at least), a medium-size butterball would be good. my husband has a knockout recipe for “smoked” roast turkey, but we’re on the lookout for “asian” flavors.

    Nov 29, 2006 | 5:48 pm

  6. Rowi says:

    The bird looks delicieux! We’ve tried roasting brined turkey with citrus stuffings and spices and it turned out good. How inspiring to use five-spiced powder and plum jam or a compromised hoisin sauce. We’ll certainly try your recipe, thanks for the appetising photos!
    Happy holidays!

    Nov 29, 2006 | 6:17 pm

  7. joey says:

    That looks fantastic! And what a yummy sounding new way with turkey! My uncle is the turkey-man in our family and he makes a mean one…he brines it also. You may know him (his daughter goes to school with a certain Kid), albeit not for his turkey prowess, but if you do you guys can share turkey tricks :) Or maybe we should keep this one a secret so I can impress him for once!

    Nov 29, 2006 | 6:36 pm

  8. Knittymommy says:

    The turkey looks excellent. The skin seems so crispy and yummy. I may just try it sometime this holiday season. While being here in the US, we tend to take the cost of turkey for granted. Specially since you can get them free from any supermarket for an accumulated purchase of about $300.00 during the holiday season. When I saw the Php 1,000 price tag for the 12 pound Turkey, I was shocked. Then I thought… teka, that’s just about $20. That would be about the same price you would pay here… If you actually paid for it. I have always wanted to buy 5 spice powder. Now I have a reason to.

    Nov 29, 2006 | 11:25 pm

  9. acmr says:

    Your turkey looks great! I have never had turkey look evenly brown all over. I guess I have to try it with 5 spice seasoning.

    Just to share, my family did a turducken this year. That’s chicken (4lbs), stuffed in a duck (6lbs), stuffed in a turkey (19 lbs). We had pork (embutido-style) stuffing in the chicken, corn bread stuffing in the duck, and bread with sage sausage stuffing in the turkey. Cooked it at 225 Fahrenheit for 9 hours. It was really a lot of work especially since we had to debone the 3 birds. It tasted great — very moist and the flavors really blended well together. But I think it is too much work. Pero who knows, baka ma-challenge nanaman kami and maybe we will do it again next year.

    Nov 30, 2006 | 1:01 am

  10. Maria Clara says:

    Your Viking convection oven did the wonder on this tasty bird. The roasting is even throughout the bird – monochromatic tan. Sounds like a very good fusion turkey and it is a no frills and fuss roasting. Five spice powder perked up the flavor.

    Nov 30, 2006 | 1:21 am

  11. perkycinderella says:

    I did exactly like that last Thursday. My grandma who is half Chinese, passed on this recipe to me decades ago. Yummy di ba? Mine tasted like peking duck, which I loved!

    Nov 30, 2006 | 4:45 am

  12. asunta says:

    your turkey looks yummy. and yes like maria clara posted, the viking oven did the trick.

    Nov 30, 2006 | 6:49 am

  13. Gigi says:

    If I was a dead turkey, I’d want to be cremated that way. MM, you rock! How serendipitous too because I was just eyeing Le Butterballs in the Power Plant supermarket (bad lay-out btw. I prefer SM’s organized aisles… I’m digressing… So sorry)and thought that the turkey was darn affordable…… My question is — puede bang i-turbo??? Thinking of getting for myself come Christmas bonus time an oven …. Pero kung chika naman sa turbo bakit di na muna yun…

    Nov 30, 2006 | 8:12 am

  14. connie says:

    Gigi, I’ve actually cooked turkey in a turbo broiler before and it came out good and the skin was crispy. Obviously I had to use the young butterball as the 20 pounds one would not fit in my broiler, even though I have a big one. Make sure you properly thaw and brine the turkey or you’ll end up with a burnt turkey with raw, frozen and uncooked meat.

    Nov 30, 2006 | 8:33 am

  15. Veron says:

    Chinese Five spice is starting to be my favorite spice. I just used this on a roast goose over at my blog. This week I used it for pork loin and it was yummy!

    Nov 30, 2006 | 8:54 am

  16. gonzo says:

    That’s one sensationally browned turkey, MM. And the brining is critical i reckon, as turkey is a pretty dry bird. interesting recipe from gourmet.

    As for thanksgiving, hmm, i know everyone in america celebrates this all-important holiday, but i wonder what the native (real) americans do on that night?

    i.e. if their ancestors didn’t save the original group of Mayflower pilgrims from certain starvation that first winter (the orig reason for the holiday), would they have lost their land, been subjected to wholesale massacres, ethnic cleansing, and otherwise broken as a people then thrown into reservation camps out in the desert somewhere?

    Obviously, nothing much happens at our house on thanksgiving. The turkey comes out Christmas Eve.

    Nov 30, 2006 | 1:38 pm

  17. cleo says:

    the pictures look so yummy!!!

    Dec 2, 2006 | 12:45 pm

  18. Jean says:

    MM, where do you buy Damson Plum jam in Manila?

    Dec 7, 2006 | 2:18 pm

  19. Marketman says:

    Sorry Jean, my damson plum jam is made by a sister in NY and she sends it to me by balikbayan box! REd Currant Jelly from some local groceries is a possible alternative…

    Dec 7, 2006 | 4:19 pm

  20. mariles says:

    where can i find a decent size turker near ayala alabang. i am returning to manila for the christmas holidays and am hoping to have turkey instead of the traditional lechon. help please!!! i need too buy a monster size turkey to feed about 20 people. thanks.

    Dec 14, 2006 | 9:22 pm

  21. Marketman says:

    mariles, unfortunately, the local turkey choices are pretty lame. But at S&R or Makati Supermarket in Alabang you should be able to find 12-13 pound turkeys frozen, butterball types. They aren’t enough to feed 20 but you might want to do 2 birds instead of one…

    Dec 14, 2006 | 10:23 pm

  22. asunta says:

    hi marketman. i am so inspired to make my first turkey with this post. my question is does a basted turkey mean a pre brined turkey? the turkey is now in my ref and is ready for brining but am worried about that. help! i was able to find plum preserves in santi’s. this should do right? hubby is very particular and wants me to do an excellent turkey. he wants me to go the traditional way but the reviews on epicurious on this recipe is encouraging. help! i am thinking of doing a trial run using a chicken and see if he will like the flavor.

    Dec 23, 2008 | 8:46 am

  23. Marketman says:

    asunta, a basted turkey just means you are going to brush it with butter or basting liquid or sauce.

    First you must brine the turkey if you want to do that. It must already be defrosted but still cold, then stick it in a cooler and cover with water and add lots of salt (refer to brining instructions on blog or web), then add ice to keep it very cold but not frozen. Leave it overnight and add ice as needed. The next day, rinse and bring to room temperature and you are ready to start the recipe.

    It is a very good recipe, I have made it several times and will be doing it again tomorrow for Christmas Eve, along with a ham. My only critical piece of advice is to watch the bird as it browns, the sugar in the preserves has a tendency to caramelize and burn. Just cover with some foil loosely if it looks like it is browning too fast. But I must say, compared to other turkeys, this is a DARK one and it tastes wonderful. Make lots of gravy. I am making a 19 pound version tomorrow afternoon! Good luck and Merry Christmas!

    Dec 23, 2008 | 9:04 am

  24. asunta says:

    thank you very much mm. what do you think of doing a mushroom stuffing instead of the stuffed onion recipe? i got a jennie o premium pre basted turkey. will be brining it tomorrow. it is just a 14 lb. i am so excited . will be sending you some pictures. merry christmas and hoping for a recession proof new year (fingers crossed!).

    Dec 23, 2008 | 8:51 pm

  25. asunta says:

    hello mm. i did a test run on the plum sauce on christmas eve using a huge chicken. i wasnt so sure about the brining but still went through with brining the chicken. the sauce was good. the chicken for me was a tad dry but hubby didnt mind. the following day after brining and waking ,up at 5am to take out the turkey from an overnight soaking, i began preparing my first ever turkey roast. i didnt do the stuffed onions as i couldnt find any large ones. instead i did a mushroom stuffing which was yum-o! the turkey turned out similar to your copacobana tanned turkey. thanks! i will purchase another turkey and start practicing once a month to perfect it. how do i send you a picture as promised? private email would be great. thanks mm.

    Jan 9, 2009 | 9:26 am


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