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Southwestern Turkey

By: Atkins Nutritionals
Updated June 14, 2018

For Thanksgiving this year, why not try a unique main dish instead of the traditional turkey? Southwestern turkey has a unique taste with fresh cilantro, cumin, chipotle pepper rub and a spicy gravy. Give this turkey recipe a try!

If you're looking for a new way to prepare your Thanksgiving bird, check out The Top 41 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes for more great ideas!

Preparation Time20 min

Cooking Time3 hr 40 min


  • Turkey:
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, sofened
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 chipotles en adobo, minced
  • 1 (12 to 14 pound) turkey, giblets removed


For Southwestern Turkey:

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine butter, cilantro, cumin, salt, zest, juice, garlic, and chipotles in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended and smooth.
  2. Insert fingers between skin and flesh of turkey to loosen skin; rub butter mixture under the skin of the turkey. Place turkey, breast-side up, on a wire rack in a roasting pan. Cook, basting with pan drippings, 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F; continue cooking, basting every 30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of turkey breast registers 165 degrees F, 3¼ to 3½ hours. Let turkey stand 10 minutes before slicing.

For Spicy Gravy:

  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add chipotle and cream; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Skim off and discard fat from pan drippings. Add remaining pan drippings (you should have about ¾ cup) to the cream mixture; cook an additional minute. Remove from heat. Stir in lime juice; season with salt to taste. Serve along with turkey.

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