• 2 legs of turkey
  • to make the pommade (paste) for each leg:
  • 50 g butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp sea salt


  • To start, you need to cut deep slits into both sides of the leg, almost to the bone. Heat your oven to 220°C.
  • Have your butter at room temperature and mix with the crushed garlic, all the spices and half a teaspoon of sea salt until a very smooth paste is formed.
  • Use your fingers to rub this all over the leg of turkey, deep into the slits and all over the flesh.
  • Then put it into a roasting tin and place in the oven for ten minutes, keeping an eye on it, as you don’t want the butter to burn.
  • Take it out of the oven, baste it with the juices that have formed, turn the oven down to around 160 degrees and place the leg back in the oven.
  • Leave to slow roast for about three hours, though it may not need even that much, but do turn it and baste it again every thirty minutes.
  • The turkey is ready when the meat is falling off the bone. A nice touch, I find, is to toast some cumin seeds in a pan and add them to the turkey for its last ten minutes in the oven. This mechoui is served with ground cumin and the rest of the sea salt on the side.
  • This is hearty, festive stuff, so you may want to serve with something relatively simple to mop up those juices – such as saffron potatoes, rice, spinach or grilled courgettes.