Molly Baz’s Turkey Marbella: A Thanksgiving Feast for the Senses

Yo, fellow food lovers and Thanksgiving enthusiasts! Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure with Molly Baz’s legendary Turkey Marbella, a dish that’ll tantalize your taste buds and leave you saying, “Oh, my God, this is amazing!” just like Tina Belcher. This ain’t your grandma’s dry, boring turkey, folks. This is a flavor explosion, a symphony of textures, a masterpiece that’ll make your Thanksgiving dinner an unforgettable experience.

The Inspiration: A Fusion of Flavors

Turkey Marbella is a classic dish with a rich history, dating back to the 1970s. It’s a unique blend of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors, with influences from Mediterranean cuisine. Molly Baz’s version takes this classic recipe and adds her signature flair, creating a dish that’s both familiar and exciting.

The Ingredients: A Culinary Symphony

Here’s what you’ll need to create this culinary masterpiece:

For the Turkey:

  • 1 whole turkey (14-16 pounds), broken down into 2 legs and 1 double breast plate (ask your butcher to do this for you)
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Marinade:

  • 2 heads garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 ¼ pounds shallots, peeled and halved
  • 6 ounces medjool dates, pitted and torn
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 750 ml bottle dry white wine
  • 1½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 10 ounces pitted castelvetrano olives
  • 2 ½ cups Israeli couscous or fregola


  • Large roasting pan (or foil roasting pan)
  • Baking sheet
  • Wire rack

The Process: A Culinary Journey

Preparing the Turkey:

  1. Pat the turkey legs and breast plate dry with paper towels.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together ½ cup salt, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and lots of black pepper. Season the turkey all over with the mixture.
  3. Place the turkey on a wire rack inside a baking sheet and chill uncovered overnight and up to 48 hours.

Making the Marinade:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large roasting pan, stir together ⅔ cup olive oil, 1 ½ cups sherry vinegar, 1 bottle white wine, 1 ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon salt.
  3. Add the shallots, halved garlic, dates, 8 thyme sprigs, and 1 ½ cups pitted castelvetrano olives to the marinade.
  4. Add the turkey legs to the marinade, turning to coat. Let sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.

Braising the Legs:

  1. Tightly cover the roasting pan with foil and transfer to the oven. Cook, making sure the oven does not get hotter than 325 degrees, until the legs are tender, the skin has shrunk back, and the meat falls off the bone when prodded with a fork, 2 to 2 ½ hours.

Roasting the Breasts and Finishing:

  1. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and remove foil.
  2. Add the turkey breast to the center of the roasting pan, scooting the legs aside to make room. Spoon some of the braising liquid over the breasts.
  3. Return to the oven and continue roasting until turning brown in places, 20 minutes more.
  4. Remove from the oven. Add 1 cup of water to the braising liquid, and sprinkle 2½ cups Israeli couscous around and under the turkey, using a spoon to distribute the couscous into the cooking liquid.
  5. Return to the oven (still uncovered) and roast, 25-35 more minutes, until the turkey skin is burnished and deeply golden brown, the couscous is tender, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast where it meets the breastbone registers 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Serving the Feast:

  1. Transfer the turkey to a platter and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.
  2. Serve the turkey with the braising liquid, couscous, and any remaining olives.
  3. Prepare to be amazed by the deliciousness that is Molly Baz’s Turkey Marbella.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Don’t have an instant-read thermometer? No worries! Just insert a fork into the thickest part of the breast where it meets the breastbone. If the juices run clear, the turkey is done.
  • For a vegetarian option, substitute the turkey with a large portobello mushroom cap.
  • Pair your Turkey Marbella with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a refreshing Pinot Grigio for the ultimate Thanksgiving feast.

Molly Baz’s Turkey Marbella is a Thanksgiving feast for the senses. It’s packed with flavor, easy to follow, and guaranteed to make your Thanksgiving dinner a memorable one. So grab your ingredients, channel your inner culinary artist, and get ready to create a dish that’ll have everyone saying, “This is the best turkey I’ve ever had!”

Make the marinade:

  • Combine ½ cup salt, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and a generous amount of black pepper in a small bowl. Pat one bone in the skin of the double breast plate and two bone-in, skin-on turkey legs. Place them on a baking sheet with a wire rack inside and sprinkle with the mixture. Chill uncovered overnight and up to 48 hours.

Do some prep:

  • Cut 2 heads garlic in half crosswise
  • Peel and halve 1 ¼ pounds shallots.
  • Pit and tear 6 ounces of medjool dates.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • Combine ⅔ cup olive oil, 1 ½ cups sherry vinegar, 1 bottle white wine, 1 ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon salt in a large roasting pan (or foil roasting pan).
  • Incorporate the shallots, dates, halved garlic, eight thyme sprigs, and a quarter cup of pitted Castelvetrano olives.
  • Only the turkey legs should be added. Coat, then set aside to cool while the oven preheats.
  • Place the baking dish inside the oven after securely covering it with foil. Cook for 2 to 2 ½ hours, or until the legs are tender, the skin has shrunk back, and the meat pulls away from the bone when prodded with a fork. Be sure to periodically check that the oven does not get hotter than 325.

Turkey Marbella | Hit The Kitch with Molly Baz

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