Turkey with 100 Cloves of Garlic [recipe with gluten free gravy]

Captain’s log, stardate -307097.0319634703. We have travelled through a wormhole and entered a peculiar dinner star system in the Plimoth Alpha sector on a most critical mission of gastrophysical research. These early Earth inhabitants consume a large domesticated fowl, known to them as “turkey” and surround it with illogical amounts of a cousin plant to the now extinct onion. They call this “turkey with 100 cloves”. We are here to observe and attempt to understand the event that changed the course of human history forever. This garlicky dish directly led to the development of our transporter.

Turkey with 100 cloves of garlic

Garlic. Fascinating.

I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t love garlic. Travel back in time with me through the wormhole, and you’ll see that my first awareness of it probably comes from the Italian American dishes we had so often growing up, which embraced the wild child of the allium family. Fresh minced garlic spiced up our tomato sauces–OK, fine, just this once–gravy. It made soft, unassuming white bread come to life as garlic bread.

Garlic is the passionate spirit that emerges from the garden, the spiritual healer that everyone knows so well. We love it, we embrace it. Now we take it where no turkey has gone before.

OK, maybe some Turkeys have visited before us.

Garlic and turkey just sound good together, don’t they? Two familiar faces in your life that you would love to see become a couple, yet they rarely cross each other’s path for inexplicable reasons.

We decided to take a favorite recipe of ours from John Thorne’s “Outlaw Cook” for Chicken with 40 Cloves and adapt it for turkey. It was too obvious not to do it. The adaptation part was easy: Turkeys are bigger than chickens, so they need more than 40 cloves. And since we know turkey and garlic are so good on their own, our recipe keeps it very simple with just these two ingredients, plus salt and pepper.

So let’s do it, let’s put our shields down and cruise at Warp 1 to your next big meal.


Garlic, the final frontier.

OK I’ll stop with the Star Trek stuff… right after I give this Pilgrim a Vulcan Nerve Pinch.

Turkey with 100 Cloves of Garlic (with naturally gluten free gravy)


  • 1 turkey
  • ~100 unpeeled cloves of garlic (about 12-16 ounces of garlic in head form, which is 8-10 heads of common smaller garlic or hey, about a pound total of garlic)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (for gravy)
  • 3 tablespoons water (for gravy)


1. Preheat your oven to 450° F.

2. Prepare your turkey by quartering or spatchcocking. For spatchcocking you’ll need a large roasting pan or a small turkey, and the process is relatively simple: remove the backbone, unfold, press down on the breastbone to break it, spread it out an marvel at the things humans have come up with.

If you want to quarter it, here’s our video showing the quartering process, as demonstrated on a chicken:

3. Arrange the turkey in a nice heavy roasting pan in one layer.

Spatchcocked Turkey
Spatchcocked, not stirred

4. Generously sprinkle salt and grind pepper onto the skin of the meat.

5. Roll the unpeeled garlic cloves between your palms to get rid of most of the papery skin, but leave the tougher skin on. Then scatter the cloves all around the edges of the turkey, not worrying too much about where it goes.

Spatchcocked Turkey with 100 cloves of garlic

6. Into the oven for 30 minutes.

7. After 30 minutes are up, reduce the heat to 325° F, insert your probe thermometer, and cover the entire pan with foil.

8. Cook until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165°. Don’t have a probe thermometer? I have no idea how you roast anything reliably without one. Until the juices come out clear when you poke it with a fork or knife is a rule of thumb I’ve heard.

Spatchcocked turkey with 100 cloves of garlic

9. To make a jaw dropping gluten free garlicky gravy: Pour off the meaty garlicky juices into a jar or bowl and let it settle briefly to allow the fat to rise. While you wait, whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Skim the fat off of the juices and discard the fat. Whisk the cornstarch mixture with the juices until smooth.  Bring to a boil and boil for just a minute to let it thicken, then allow to cool a bit before serving. Voila!

Turkey with 100 gloves of garlic and gluten free gravy

10. To serve: Portion the turkey as you like and serve the garlic alongside it, throwing a handful of garlic cloves on the side for each person. To enjoy the garlic, squeeze it out of its skin onto bread, mix it with each bite of your meal, or just gobble it down straight up like the Vulcan you are.

Turkey with 100 cloves of garlic

Looking for more recipes for your holiday dinner?  We pulled together a complete menu with easy to prepare, local recipes that showcase farm raised ingredients in their pure form.  Click here to take a look!

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