Sweet and sour tamarind pulp is a prized ingredient in Senegal, where it’s formed into candies, mixed into a cooling drink, or slathered over grilled fish. Chef Pierre Thiam transforms the iconic Thanksgiving bird with his own glaze made with tamarind, Scotch bonnet chiles, and fish sauce, which lends the turkey skin a pleasantly sticky texture and the meat an umami-rich flavor. Be sure to use fresh, or “wet,” tamarind pulp, which is packed in blocks with the seeds mixed throughout, and not tamarind concentrate or syrup; they are too sweet.
Featured in: A Brooklyn Thanksgiving with the Flavors of Senegal
What You Will Need
- Small Bowl
- Medium Bowl
- Rubber Spatula or Spoon
- Fine Sieve
- Large Roasting Pan
- Instant-Read Thermometer
- Aluminum Foil
- Small Saucepan
- 6 oz. “wet” tamarind pulp, roughly chopped
- 3⁄4 cup honey
- 1⁄4 cup Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, stemmed seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 whole (12-lb.) turkey, rinsed and dried thoroughly
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- In a small bowl, cover the tamarind pulp with 1⁄2 cup boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes to soften. Using your fingers, break the tamarind apart and then let stand for another 5 minutes. Pour the tamarind through a fine sieve set over a medium bowl and, using a rubber spatula or spoon, press the tamarind through the sieve, discarding the solids. Add the honey, fish sauce, garlic, and chile to the tamarind liquid and stir into a smooth glaze; you should have 1 1⁄2 cups.
- Heat the oven to 450°. Place the turkey on a rack set in a large roasting pan and season the cavity and outside liberally with salt and pepper. Pour the stock into the pan and roast the turkey until golden brown, about 1 hour. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°, cover the turkey with foil, and roast until almost cooked through, 1 hour more. Uncover the turkey and roast, basting with 12 cup of the tamarind glaze every 10 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh of the turkey reads 160°, 30 minutes more.
- Transfer the turkey on its rack to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the pan juices into a small saucepan. In a small bowl, stir the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water, and then stir the cornstarch slurry into the pan juices. Place the pan over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring, until thickened into a gravy, about 5 minutes. Pour the gravy through a fine sieve into a bowl and serve alongside the turkey.