Sephardic Recipes With A Modern Twist

Sephardic Spice Girls


My best friend’s wedding was a joyous celebration. Friends and family were thrilled that two such amazing people had found each other. The bride was beautiful in her stunning white lace gown and the groom was handsome in his bow tie and tuxedo, the bridesmaids wore lavender, matched by the pretty pinks and purples of the flowers on the table. We ate, we drank, we danced and we were merry.

It was an unforgettable night followed by an unforgettable Thanksgiving Sheva Bracha the next day. My family and I hosted the newlyweds—Neil and Rachel—on a cold and windy day at a Malibu beach house.

My mother was in charge of the menu and we spent the morning toiling in the kitchen. I don’t really remember the menu, but I do remember that the groom, a man who happily eats rice with every meal, was scandalized when he saw that my mother had stuffed the turkey with rice! Rachel and I still laugh about it.

For the past ten years or so, my mother has happily conceded to me the job of roasting the turkey, stirring the gravy, mashing the potatoes, making the (bread and cornbread) stuffing, sautéing the vegetables and baking all those pumpkin and pecan pies. She still brings her killer yellow rice, made with carrots and peas, topped with caramelized onions, slivered almonds and fried dried cranberries. And every last grain of rice is gobbled up.

My recipe for a classic roasted turkey involves my husband’s prized Glenfiddich Scotch whiskey and fresh tangy oranges plucked from the tree in my front courtyard.

While some will argue that kosher turkeys should be brined, I say why add more work on a very busy day? Kosher poultry is already brined through the koshering process and even Martha Stewart buys a kosher bird for her Thanksgiving feast.

I have found that the secret to a moist, juicy turkey is to glaze it in a sauce and cook it breast side down.


Whip up a gravy by adding flour to all the delicious juices in the bottom of the pan.

Happy feasting!

P.S. In case you were wondering, I caught Rachel’s bouquet.

Whiskey and Orange Glazed Turkey

1 13-15 pound turkey

1/2 cup Scotch whiskey

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon Colman’s English Mustard Powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

Freshly ground black pepper

3 oranges, cut in halves

2 large golden onions, with peel on and cut into wedges

1/2 cup avocado, safflower or canola oil

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

  2. In a medium bowl, make glaze by combining whiskey, soy sauce, brown sugar and spices.

  3. Place turkey, breast side down in a large roasting pan.

  4. Place 2 oranges in the turkey cavity.

  5. Lightly squeeze juice from remaining orange over the turkey.

  6. Place orange rinds and onion wedges around the turkey.

  7. Pour broth into the roasting pan.

  8. Pour oil over the turkey and roast for 30 minutes.

  9. Remove turkey from oven and pour glaze over the turkey.

  10. Roast for two more hours, then check the temperature by inserting a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Continue roasting until turkey is 165°F.

  11. Remove turkey from the oven, loosely tent with foil and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

  12. Serve with gravy and cranberry sauce

🤞 Don’t miss the Latest Recipes!

Glorious Gobbling: Whiskey and Oranges Make for a Juicy Bird