Faith Kramer's Spiced Turkey Pot Roast
Faith Kramer's Spiced Turkey Pot Roast

It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s… Hanukkah turkey?

Want to try a different main dish to serve with your latkes this Hanukkah? How about Spiced Turkey Pot Roast? Quicker to make than regular beef pot roast, easy to reheat and with lots of sauce, it is a great accompaniment for your potato pancakes.

The recipe is flavored with spices traditionally used in many Middle and Near Eastern Jewish dishes. Use bone-in turkey breasts and/or thighs. To avoid overcooking and drying out, pull the braised turkey from the pot as soon as the meat is cooked through to the bone. And if you make it in advance, gently reheat the turkey in sauce over medium-low heat.

For lots of flavor without the grating, try my recipe for Shortcut Latkes.

Spiced Turkey Pot Roast

Serves 8

  • 2 tsp. plus ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. plus ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground allspice
  • 6 to 7 lbs. turkey thighs and/or breast, on bone
  • 2 Tbs. oil, with more as needed
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes with liquid
  • ⅓ cup plus 1 Tbs. pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Tbs. plus 2 Tbs. brown sugar, plus as needed
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • Fresh lemon juice, as needed

Mix 2 tsp. salt with 1 tsp. black pepper, cayenne, cumin, cinnamon and allspice. Remove and discard turkey skin. Use all of mixture and rub on all sides of turkey. Keep covered at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

Heat oil in large, heavy covered pot over medium heat. Sauté onions until browned. Add garlic. Sauté until golden. Working in batches, brown turkey on both sides, adding oil if needed. Remove turkey (leaving onions and garlic in pot) and set aside. Scrape up and stir in browned bits on pot bottom. Raise heat to medium-high, stir in remaining salt and pepper, tomatoes with liquid, ⅓ cup pomegranate molasses, 1 Tbs. brown sugar and chicken broth. Bring to simmer. Add turkey (bone side down) with accumulated juices. Cover. Return to simmer. Cook for 30 minutes. Turn turkey pieces bone side up. Cover and simmer another 20 minutes. Make a single cut to the bone. Meat should be opaque and not pink. Breasts will be done or close to it. Thighs need another 10 to 20 minutes. (Timing will vary. If using a combination of dark and white meat, the breasts will need to be removed from pot sooner.) Do not overcook. Let turkey rest on platter.

To complete the sauce, add 2 Tbs. brown sugar, tomato paste and remaining pomegranate molasses. Bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered, stirring often, until a bit thicker than spaghetti sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings. The sauce should be pleasantly tart. If it is too sour, add brown sugar by teaspoonful. If too sweet, add lemon juice by teaspoonful. Keep sauce warm. Slice or shred turkey. Discard bones. Toss meat in sauce.

Shortcut Latkes

Makes 10 to 12

  • 2 eggs
  • ⅛ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 20-oz. package refrigerated, raw pre-shredded or “hash brown” potatoes, chilled
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbs. flour
  • Oil

Beat eggs with pepper and salt. Pat cold potato shreds dry. Add to eggs with onions and garlic. Mix well. Stir in flour. Form patties 3 inches in diameter. Heat ½-inch oil in a large fry pan over medium-high heat until a bit of batter in pan sizzles. Working in batches to not overcrowd the pan, slide patties into oil, flattening slightly with spatula. Fry 2 minutes on each side until brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels. Add more oil to pan, as needed, and let it get hot. Repeat.

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].