Posted on: November 26, 2019

Persian Recipe – Sweet and Sour Stuffed Turkey

Looking to experiment with your turkey this Thanksgiving? Give this delicious Persian sweet and sour stuffed turkey a try!

This image shows the cover of "Food Of Life - Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking And Ceremonies," the book from which the sweet and sour stuffed turkey recipe was taken.

Sweet and Sour Stuffed Turkey (Buqalamu-ye tu por-e torsh-o shirin)

Makes 4 servings, preparation time 30 minutes plus 5 hours of cook time


1 turkey, about 10 to 12 pounds

Rub –

2 tablespoons sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons turmeric

Juice of 1 lime

1 cup butter

1 bulb garlic, peeled and grated

Filling –

1/2 cup oil

3 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced

5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 cup rice

1 cup carrots, peeled and julienned

1 cup dried barberries, cleaned, or cranberries

1/4 cup orange zest (6 oranges)

1/2 cup raisins

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon advieh (Persian spice mix)

1 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup raw pistachios

3 cups chicken broth

Gravy –

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup broth


  1. Clean and rinse the turkey in cold water, then pat dry. Place, breast side down, on a greased rack in a roasting pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the salt, pepper, turmeric, lime juice, butter, and garlic. Rub the turkey thoroughly inside and out, lifting up the skin and placing some butter under the skin.
  3. To make the filling: Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat, and brown the onions and garlic. Add rice and sauté for a few minutes. Add the carrots, barberries, orange zest, raisins, salt, pepper, advieh, saffron water, sugar, almonds, and pistachios. Stir-fry for 5 minutes. Add chicken broth, cover, and simmer for 35 minutes over low heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Stuff the turkey with the filling and pin or sew the cavity shut.
  5. Cover tightly with a layer of oiled parchment paper and a layer of aluminum foil, and roast for 5 hours. Uncover and baste with the pan juices and continue to cook, uncovered for another hour, basting occasionally, until the meat separates easily from the bone.
  6. Transfer the turkey to a serving platter. Cover with a layer of parchment paper and a layer of aluminum foil and allow to sit for 20 minutes at room temperature.
  7. To make the gravy: In a small saucepan, combine the butter and flour and stir-fry for a few minutes until golden brown. Transfer all the pan drippings to the saucepan and add the broth. Stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens. Adjust seasoning to taste. Nush-e Jan!
A scrumptious looking turkey sits on a wood surface surrounded by greenery.

The Orley Shabahang family wishes you and your loved ones a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!