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Drunken Turkey With Pisco

A dish for guests who gather around your table

En español


  • 1 10–12 pound turkey
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 3 Spanish onions, quartered
  • 6 carrots, diced
  • 6 celery sticks, diced
  • 2 extra-large plastic bags for the turkey
  • Aluminum foil

For Brine Preparation

  • 1 gallon water
  • ¾ cup table salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

For Marinating

  • 10½ ounces red chile
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried cumin
  • 10 to 12 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups pisco


Cleaning and Brining

1. Wash the turkey and remove giblets from the body cavity.

2. Mix the salt, sugar, black peppercorn and water.

3. Place the turkey in the plastic bag and add liquid mixture. Close the bag and refrigerate for 20–24 hours.

4. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse and dry.


5. Crush the garlic and mix with the thyme, oregano, cumin and red chile until a paste is formed. Rub the entire turkey, including its body cavity, with this mixture.

6. Place the turkey in a plastic bag. Mix the remaining red chile mixture with the pisco, and baste the turkey — including the body cavity — with this liquid. Place the turkey in the refrigerator for 24 hours.


7. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Remove turkey from the plastic bag and discard the liquid.

8. Rub the margarine on the turkey, particularly under the breast skin.

9. Place the carrots, onions and celery in a metal roasting pan. Place the turkey over the vegetables and cover with aluminum foil.

10. Bake the turkey until the internal temperature of the drumstick is close to 165ºF and the breast is close to 160ºF. (Use a meat thermometer.)

11. Take off the aluminum foil from the turkey 30 minutes before removing it from the oven, and raise the oven temperature to 425ºF to brown it. Let the turkey rest for 10 minutes before carving.


  • Total cooking time should be 15–17 minutes per pound of turkey.
  • The juices left in the roasting pan may be strained and used as gravy.

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